Cameron: 'Moment of danger' for global economy

David Cameron Mr Cameron says he is a "practical Eurosceptic"

David Cameron has said the world economy is at "a moment of danger" as a result of the eurozone crisis.

He told BBC political editor Nick Robinson there were "serious clouds on the horizon" and it was "absolutely vital" to stabilise the euro.

After that was done, he said, there must be "more on the growth front" in the UK to get the economy moving.

The PM also said safeguards were needed to protect UK interests if eurozone states begin closer integration.

'Real problem'

As EU finance ministers meet in Luxembourg to discuss the eurozone crisis, Mr Cameron told the BBC: "I think it is a moment of danger.

"I think there are some very serious clouds on the horizon, chief amongst them is the problems in the eurozone where the French economy, the German economy have both stalled, and that is a real problem for the British economy.

Start Quote

There are safeguards we need and the Liberal Democrats completely agree with that”

End Quote David Cameron

"I think what we've got to do is line up the problems. Dealing with the eurozone, that's absolutely vital, then we've got to the look at the British economy and say look we've got a deficit reduction plan, that's good, that keeps our interest rates low, but we need more on the growth front."

Mr Cameron said he believed the chancellor's announcement on Monday about credit easing to help small businesses would make "a big difference".

As the eurozone economic crisis shows no sign of abating, some of its 17 members have been talking about greater fiscal union to bolster the single currency in future and support weaker members.

EU referendum

The PM said that while it was "logical" for countries using the single currency to move closer to a single economic policy, the UK and nine other EU states outside the eurozone would need "certain safeguards" to protect the single market.

"This is not some naive view that they go off on their way and we are intensely relaxed about it. There are safeguards we need and the Liberal Democrats completely agree with that," he said.

Nick Robinson said the Treasury and Foreign Office were already discussing how to protect British interests, in areas such as the City of London and the single market, should there be a fundamental change in the shape of the EU.

George Osborne: "Britain got ahead of the curve and is better at dealing with the banking system"

Mr Cameron is also facing calls from many of his MPs for a significant shift to the UK's relationship with Europe. Some want the UK to claw back powers from the EU while others are seeking a referendum on the UK's membership.

The prime minister said: "We mustn't get ahead of ourselves.

"There will be quite a fundamental change down the track as the eurozone countries come together as I think they have to, to try and make this single currency... work."

He added: "Right now let's deal with the problems and the issues people care about most."

Deputy PM Nick Clegg, whose Liberal Democrats are the most pro-European of the three biggest UK parties, has said the eurozone crisis should not be used as a justification to radically alter the UK's relationship with the European Union.

But the deputy prime minister has warned that allowing eurozone states to act against the interests of other EU members would create a "divisive and weaker" Europe.

Amid growing calls for an "in-out" referendum about the UK's membership of the EU - and the prospect of a Commons debate on the issue later this year - Mr Cameron said he believed this was the wrong course of action.

"I don't think the choice the country really wants to address is 'in or out'," he told BBC Breakfast. "I think the choice people would like is 'actually can we stay in this organisation because it is vital for our trade and economic future but can we change it?"



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  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    There is a danger that we will be seen as doing little to help our European friends during their moment of crisis (preaching from the sidelines) and that following this, when the EU recovers its balance, we will be discriminated against in trade relevant issues at meetings which we don't attend as we are not in the Eurozone.

    Contrary to the impressions here- the UK depends firmly on EU trade.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Bail out of "frying pan" Europe and we end up in the fire. Our economy depends on the continuance of some sort of financial stability ... we don't produce enough food to feed ourselves, we have limited industry and the backbone of our economy is finance. If the financial world collapses do you think the rest of the world is going to support our current lifestyles? Best get an allotment!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    The whole point of joining "The Common Market" in 1973 was to create exactly that, a common market with common laws/rules related to trade. not limited by national borders & controls.

    We have moved a long way from that, so returning to that simple objective and having ties with the EU only for that purpose would seem to be a good idea.

    Trade law only, not employment law, rights or anything else

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    We used to get beef from Argentina, Lamb from NZ, grain from America. We used to trade with the world but someone in the 1950s forced us to trade more with Europe. Saying that we should stay in Europe because we rely heavily on its trade sounds a bit like a circular argument to me. As a trading nation, why restrict ourselves to just Europe. Its a better foreign policy than what we've now got.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    We need out. As long as our goods/services are good and at a fair price we will sell them, in or out of the EU. The EU is a dying dragon, stabbed through the heart but refusing to die.

    The thought of total integration into one big Country fills me with dread. The politicians are spending billions just to support their own political survival, not the interests of their peoples.


Comments 5 of 8


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