The European Union faced angry backlash last night after frustrating British efforts to kick Russia out of the world’s biggest financial payment system.
In a call with G7 leaders yesterday, Boris Johnson pressed the case for suspending Russia from Swift, which is used to conduct about half of its international trade.
But the move was denied because of opposition from a number of EU countries.
Downing Street declined to comment on which countries had opposed the move, but Joe Biden indicated the opposition had come from EU states.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) is a mechanism for making secure payments overseas and is widely used for international trade.
Boris Johnson is said to see Russia’s suspension from Swift as an essential step in ensuring the Putin regime feels maximum economic pain for its invasion of Ukraine.
Diplomatic sources said Germany and Italy were the main opponents. Officials said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned that neither he nor the wider EU would support the move at this stage. This is despite eastern European member states such as Lithuania pushing hard for it.
European countries are concerned about potential damage to their own economies if they are unable to buy Russian gas using the system.