German finance minister calls for quick decisions on ECB digital currency

FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz holds a joint news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel after a virtual G20 summit meeting, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, November 22, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Pool

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s finance minister said on Friday that Europeans should work very hard to come up with a solution for digital payments as there was a huge demand for digital money from consumers and businesses.

The world’s largest central banks, including the European Central Bank, are considering how their own digital currencies could play a role in simplifying domestic and international payments.

“On the digital euro, I think we should work very hard. It is nothing where we should wait and see,” Scholz said at an online conference on future payments in Europe. “(We) should be able to decide at any time that now we should do something with a digital euro.”

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) would allow holders to make payments via the internet and possibly even offline, competing with existing means of electronic payment such as digital wallets, online banks or cryptocurrencies.

Reporting by Caroline Copley, Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Riham Alkousaa