Paris (dpa) - France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wants to slow down the plans of the Internet giant Facebook for the digital currency Libra.
"Under these conditions, we can not allow the development of Libra on European soil," said Le Maire on Thursday in Paris at a conference organized by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Specifically, the minister was not.
"Sovereign sovereignty is at stake," he warned. In countries with weak currencies, Libra would replace them and "question the independence of states." Le Maire sees in Libra also a systemic risk, as he stated with reference to the more than two billion users of Facebook. "Any error in the operation of this currency, in the management of its reserves, could trigger significant financial turmoil." The Minister, however, spoke out in favor of a public digital currency.
Facebook wants to make Libra available to consumers in the coming year, but the idea is sometimes met with massive opposition from politicians and central banks. The digital currency should be about to buy with US dollars or euros. The project's first partners include more than two dozen private companies such as Mastercard, Visa, Paypal and Uber. In order to avoid price fluctuations, Libra should be linked to established currencies and hedged by government bonds. Facebook had stressed that before the introduction of the currency to remove concerns of regulators. Among other things, it is unclear whether Libra requires a banking license that would be subject to strict regulation.
The Left Bundestag MP Fabio de Masi welcomed France's line. He met with Facebook representatives in Berlin on Friday. They had no answers to the question of how to guarantee financial stability at Libra, de Masi said. "We urgently need a discussion on a state-guaranteed e-euro as an alternative," he said.