French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire | Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images

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France’s Bruno Le Maire said Thursday that he would try to stop the development of Facebook’s new virtual currency Libra within Europe, claiming that “the monetary sovereignty of states is in jeopardy.”

The French finance minister has been an outspoken critic of the new financial product, which is expected to be unveiled halfway through 2020. His latest stark comments follow similar pushback from regulators across Europe, the United States and elsewhere over concerns that the digital currency could undermine the current global financial services industry.

“We cannot authorize the development of Libra in Europe,” Le Maire told an audience in Paris.

The French politician also raised concerns that Facebook’s development of Libra could also give the social networking giant undue influence of how its more than two billion users worldwide used the digital currency.

“Libra would substitute itself for national currencies,” he added. “The privatization of currencies raises the rise of abuse of a dominant position, it raises sovereignty risk, it raises risks for consumers and companies.”

It is unclear if France’s finance minister has the authority to block Libra’s development as the association overseeing the project is based in Switzerland, which is not part of the European Union.

On Wednesday, the Swiss financial regulator said the proposed digital currency would require a payment system license, as well as being subject to more stringent requirements due to higher risks associated with the project.

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In response, the Libra Association said it was working with Swiss regulators.



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