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Germany wants end of U.S. domination in global finance

Staff Writer |
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas proposed measures against U.S. dominance in global finance amid a growing row between Washington and Berlin over the Iran nuclear deal.

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In an article he wrote for daily Handelsblatt, Maas slammed U.S. President Donald Trump for imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran, without consulting European allies.

“It is essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels independent of the U.S., a European monetary fund and an independent SWIFT [payment] system,” he said.

Maas also called on EU partners to maintain their unity and pursue a common policy towards the U.S. in the ongoing dispute over sanctions.

“In this situation, it is of strategic importance that we make it clear to Washington that we want to work together.

"But also: That we will not allow you to go over our heads, and at our expense. That is why it was right to protect European companies legally from sanctions,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed Maas’s call for unity among Europeans and for a stronger role for the European Union, but she also expressed caution on plans to find a European alternative to the U.S.-dominated SWIFT payment system.

“Transatlantic relations are changing, we have to assume more responsibility. We Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands,” Merkel told a press conference in Berlin.

Acknowledging growing differences with the Trump administration on a number of international issues, including the nuclear agreement, Merkel said U.S. sanctions towards Iran has caused problems with regards to the SWIFT system.

“But at the same time, we know that the SWIFT agreement is extremely important, especially on questions of terrorism financing,” she said, and added that Europeans still need close cooperation with the U.S. on such security matters.

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