Robert Harneis TDO- (FRANCE)- In an article published in the newspaper Handelsblatt, the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Heiko Mass, has urged Europe to reexamine its relationship with the United States.
Specifically, he favors the implementation of a worldwide payment system independent of the dollar. This would allow Europe to continue trading with Iran in the face of US sanctions. He wrote “We should not simply accept that Washington takes decisions without consulting us at our expense.”
He was reacting to the unilateral decision by the United States to exclude Iran from the International Community from 4 November by cutting its access to SWIFT, which links more than 11,000 banks across the world and enables cross border payments.
The Trump administration is at loggerheads with Berlin over the new Nordstream pipeline importing Russian gas, Germany’s large trade balance with the US and Germany’s low military spending as a percentage of GDP. Berlin in its turn resents the US withdrawal of the JCPOA Iran nuclear treaty as well as the US withdrawal from the Climate Treaty. Trump’s ambiguous attitude to NATO is also a cause for unease in Berlin.
The US still holds the high cards in matters of international trade and finance because two thirds of all business is still done in dollars. The setting up of a rival to SWIFT not using dollars is a logical defensive step for Europe to take just as the Chinese and Russians have already done.
It would also fit in well with any thoughts Berlin may have about abandoning the Eurozone in due course. Prior to the Euro’s existence the Deutsch Mark was the second biggest currency traded in the world.