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German Finance Minister Schaeuble backs London as strong financial centre

Schaeuble said it is in the European Union's best interest that London remains a strong financial centre after Brexit.

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German Finance Minister Schaeuble backs London as strong financial centre

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Germany’s Finance Minister is backing Britain.

Point of view

We have our own interest, even after Brexit, to have a strong financial centre in London

Wolfgang Schaeuble German finance minister

Wolfgang Schaeuble told a conference in Frankfurt that it is in the European Union’s best interest that London remains a strong financial centre after Britain leaves the bloc.

He said moving all those functions abroad would cause huge upheaval and he wants to negotiate a Brexit deal that keeps London strong: “I am not sure whether it would be very beloved in Paris to say so, but we have our own interest, even after Brexit, to have a strong financial centre in London. We can’t move the whole business to Europe and it’s better to have it in London than in Singapore or elsewhere in the world.”

Populism and nationalism warning

As well as supporting the City of London, Schaeuble warned of more populism and nationalism unless the world’s biggest economies address the excesses of globalisation and the widening gap between the rich and the poor: “If we have learned anything from the lessons of the past, it is that nationalism and protectionism are never the right answers. We cannot cut ourselves off from the problems of the world and we should not be fooled by what look like very simple answers to the complex challenges facing us.”

He was speaking ahead of the G20 gathering of finance ministers and central bankers in the German town of Baden-Baden and hours before meeting US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – representing a country threatening increasing protectionism.

After the meeting Schaeuble said he had a “friendly and constructive” discussion with Mnuchin in Berlin and they agreed to work together to promote sustainable global growth and prosperity.

“We found a good basis” to work together, Schaeuble said at a joint news conference with Mnuchin but added that they would not solve all of their problems at the upcoming G20 meeting.

Mnuchin said that President Donald Trump recognises trade’s importance for economic growth.

“It is not our desire to get into trade wars,” Mnuchin said. “The president does believe in free trade but he wants free and fair trade.”