German Banks, Nagel Make Call Against Xenophobia Before EU Vote

(Bloomberg) -- German bankers plan to sign an open letter against xenophobia in a move initiated by the Bundesbank and lobby group Frankfurt Main Finance ahead of next month’s European Parliament elections.

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“A democratic, free and tolerant Europe is the basis for peaceful coexistence,” according to the document, published in Boersen-Zeitung on Wednesday. “It’s also the basis for economic growth, prosperity and common good.”

“Tolerance and human dignity as well as openness to exchange across borders form the basis of Europe and the financial sector,” it said. “These values therefore guide our actions. Exclusion and xenophobia damage Europe, Germany, the finance industry and the way we all live together.”

The document, which also appeals to citizens to vote on June 9, was signed by numerous banking associations as well as Germany KfW development bank, the state of Hessen and the city of Frankfurt and nearby conurbations of Eschborn and Offenbach.

The Bundesbank said in a statement that the letter will be signed on May 9 during festivities celebrating Europe Day.

Central bank chief Joachim Nagel separately told Spiegel magazine that the letter was met with “broad approval” in Frankfurt’s financial sector.

“We can’t leave Europe to anti-democratic powers,” he said. “Xenophobia and exclusion are a threat, not a solution.”

The move comes at a time when senior Bundesbank officials — including Nagel — have been openly attending anti-fascist demonstrations just as the far-right AfD looks set to gain ground in EU and state elections this year.

--With assistance from Mark Schroers.

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