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Germany pledges to speed up EU efforts on crypto-assets, capital market

BERLIN, Sept 24 (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Thursday pledged to speed up euro zone financial reforms aimed at regulating crypto-assets and deepening capital markets, which he said could help accelerate the economic recovery from COVID-19.

Scholz said he welcomed the European Commission’s latest proposals for the regulation of crypto-assets and their underlying blockchain technology, used in private sector projects such as Facebook’s Libra stablecoin.

“These are important proposals to make Europe’s financial sector really strong. My goal is to move the discussions forward quickly,” Scholz said, adding that this also applied to the Commission’s proposal for expanding the bloc’s capital market.

As Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the 27-member bloc, Scholz said he would put both reform packages on the agenda of the next EU finance ministers meeting on Oct 6.

“With the package we can promote innovations in the financial sector so that Europe sets standards worldwide,” Scholz said.

Scholz added that the proposals to deepen the capital market could help the region recover more quickly from the coronavirus shock.

“In order to get out of the crisis with full power, small and medium-sized companies in particular need good access to capital market financing,” he said.

The European Commission on Thursday set out plans to create what its officials described as the world’s most comprehensive set of rules for crypto-assets and their underlying blockchain technology.

EU policymakers have said that Facebook should not be allowed to launch its Libra stablecoin - a cryptocurrency designed to have reduced price volatility - in the bloc until proper rules are in place. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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