Eurozone not trying to weaken City of London: Germany

19th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle insisted Monday that the eurozone was not intent on weakening the City of London financial centre.

Westerwelle said that the City -- Europe's biggest financial hub -- must remain strong for the good of the entire continent, following talks in London with his British counterpart William Hague.

London has long feared that eurozone nations, including Germany, are seeking to undermine the City using European Union regulations in the hope of winning business for their own financial centres.

"There is no hidden agenda against the City of London," said Westerwelle at a joint press conference with Hague.

"We think it is in our common interest, our mutual interest to have a strong sector of financial services here in the City of London."

Britain, which is outside the euro, had demanded safeguards for its powerful financial sector as a condition for signing up to a new EU treaty aimed at saving the euro from the debt crisis.

The demands were not accepted, however, prompting London to veto the treaty at a stormy Brussels summit on December 9, in a move that led the other 26 EU nations to agree to a new fiscal pact without Britain.

Westerwelle also insisted that Britain was an "indispensable partner" for Germany in the EU despite the veto and that efforts would be made to repair relations.

"We are willing to build bridges over troubled water," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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