European Commission unveils plans to strengthen euro

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The European Commission on Tuesday unveiled a new strategy to strengthen the economic and financial system of the European Union (EU), and protect the bloc from unfair and abusive practices.

A main pillar of the strategy is to promote "stronger international role of the euro by reaching out to third-country partners to promote its use," according to a Commission statement.

It also proposed support for the development of euro-denominated instruments and benchmarks and its status as an international reference currency in the energy and commodities sectors.

Emphases were given to further developing EU financial market infrastructures and improving their resilience against unilateral sanctions by other countries, as well as further promoting the uniform implementation and enforcement of the EU's own sanctions.

European Commission's executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said that while championing multilateralism and working closely with its partners, the EU should cement its international standing in economic and financial terms.

"This strategy sets out key ways to do this, notably by boosting global use of the EU's common currency -- the euro," he said.

Paolo Gentiloni, the commissioner responsible for the economy, added: "Strengthening the international role of the euro can shield our economy and financial system from foreign exchange shocks, reduce reliance on other currencies and ensure lower transaction, hedging and financing costs for EU firms."

The EU document did not name any third country, but the bloc has several times accused the United States for the threat of unilateral sanctions against European interest.

Earlier on Tuesday, EU finance ministers met for the first meeting under the Portuguese presidency of the EU Council, focusing on the EU's economic recovery and the foundations for sustainable growth and job creation.

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