UK will ultimately join euro says Lord Heseltine

Lord Heseltine Lord Heseltine is an adviser to David Cameron on economic regeneration

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Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine has said he still expects the UK to eventually join the euro.

The Conservative peer, one of his party's most pro-European figures, said the eurozone had real problems but he hoped it would survive as its collapse would be "catastrophic" for the UK.

All three of the largest Westminster parties have ruled out joining the euro in the foreseeable future.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said the eurozone was "failing".

Prime Minister David Cameron has faced opposition to his European policies within Conservative ranks, with more than 80 MPs defying the government and calling for a referendum on EU membership.

'Hell of a problem'

Many other backbenchers are calling on the PM to use the current financial instability, and talk of closer integration among countries using the single currency, to renegotiate the UK's relationship.

As one of the party's most staunch pro-European voices, Lord Heseltine has argued that all UK prime ministers have found themselves presiding over a deeper relationship between the UK and Europe.

Start Quote

Being like Norway would be a very good holding position for the UK”

End Quote UKIP leader Nigel Farage

Asked by the BBC's Politics Show if he still felt the UK would ultimately join the single currency, he replied: "I think we will join the euro."

He acknowledged that the eurozone was in crisis but said he believed it would endure, largely due to the determination of Germany and France to preserve its "cohesiveness".

"I think the chances, and it is a balance, are that the euro will survive.

"They (Germany and France) have got a hell of a problem, let's be frank about that, but my guess is that they will find a way through.

"I hope they will because the downside for the British economy of the eurozone going under is catastrophic. People have no idea of the scale of money British banks are owed by European banks."

He said European co-operation since the 1950s had been "remarkably successful".

But UKIP leader Mr Farage said the installation of technocratic governments in Italy and Greece was bad for democracy and meant European institutions were even more remote from the people.

"Those Mediterranean countries need to leave the eurozone," Mr Farage told the same BBC programme. "Those countries are in the wrong currency. The whole thing is failing. It is going to break up."

'German dominance'

Germany had become "totally dominant" in Europe, he claimed, after Chancellor Angela Merkel had "stepped into the breach" left by a vacuum of leadership in Brussels.

He suggested that the UK should model itself on Norway which - by remaining outside of the EU - had control over farming and fisheries policies and was not bound by policies on justice and home affairs.

"Being like Norway would be a very good holding position for the UK," he said.

"It would guarantee us free trade and give us a chance to negotiate a deal, like Switzerland has, where they don't have to have any of the rules."

The PM has said leaving the EU and negotiating trade agreements would leave the UK in the worst of all positions where it would still be bound by many EU rules but unable to influence its decisions.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    This is plain stupid. We have to abide by the rules when we deal with America and China and every other country. What is so special about this corrupt empire? We have 60% of our trade with other countries. This can easily be increased outside the EU straitjacket.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    I find it truly amazing. You would assume that a leading politician (who only narrowly missed becoming leader of his party) actually had more than two brain cells joined together - wouldn't you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    If EU is so good why do illegal immigrants come to the UK.
    (most from the EU)

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    To say we may "miss out" is naive; I'm sure Greece used the same argument when they joined the Euro and now look.
    You dont need to be in the European currency to be involved in Europe. Could any country other Than Germany argue that full membership has been beneficial?

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    Just now the situation is that the Eurozone crisis can affect the british economy and currency. We still have to pay for bailouts to protect the euro even if we are not members of the eurozone since we are a member of the IMF.
    However, just now we don't have much of a say within the eurozone. Sooner or later we have to join the eurozone to protect our interests and have a say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    Another senior Tory pontificating about Europe. Pro or anti, they just can't stop themselves.
    What does this say about their leader? Cameron knows how damaging all this infighting has been in the past. He even imposed a 3 line whip on his MP's to try and stifle further debate. His party is openly disloyal to him. Other European leaders simply ignore him. He is the weakest PM in living memory.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    @ 251
    i suggest you read:
    The Swiss franc remains one of the world's strongest currencies
    - ranks eleventh in the world in terms of GDP per capita
    - has the highest average wealth per adult
    - is ranked as having one of the most powerful economies in the world
    -is among the world's most prosperous countries in terms of private income

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Ultimately the whole of the western world will need to have one common currency - lots is going to change. If we do not adapt to globalisation capitalism will die...

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    It is likely the EU will become of decreasing economic importance in the future as EU growth has, is, and always will be low because it is inward looking. The rest of the world is growing far more and likely to double its economy size in a decade where the EU itself expects little EU growth. That means the EU will only be half as important in a decade, the rest of the world will continue growth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    Always did speak common sense, did Michael Heseltine. He's right of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    What we really should be thinking about is why a large percentage of the world economy is completely virtual and represents nothing tangible in the real world yet it is treated as such. 'Phantom money'/fiat money needs to be tackled head on and the banking cartel need to be laid to rest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Glad to hear that not all Tories are Luddites and Little Englanders. I am still perplexed why this so called failing currency called the Euro has been getting stronger against the GBP; I note that rate 4 years ago was €1.50-odd per pound, now it is nearer €1.10, or less. What will the Tory backbenchers say of the rate goes below 1 for 1 ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    Errr, David , I'm sorry but I don't think so.... Not if the British people get a chance to have their say at least. The Euro was a bad plan, badly executed.

    The whole EU is a disaster. Can you imagine anyone continuing to pay membership for a social Club which is bankrupt, continually makes up new rules for members and for which you get no benefit? Welcome to the EU Club folks....

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    There is no future for the euro. The recession is too deep and too persistent. There is already no money left to prop it up. Asian markets have already started dumping European bonds,and worse is yet to come.

    The euro HAS to collapse. It is the least worst solution. The longer this farce goes on, the more casualties there will be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    Hezza, a political has been.

    How is "BRITAIN IN EUROPE" these days? (Remember them?). Haha

    Face it you sad europhiles, you would never win a referendum. Especially as we can all see the mess your project is in.

    Who are you! Who are you! ;-D

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    Whats really chilling about this man's prophecy is that it's probably true. Perhaps he'd do more to dwell on the fact that the prospect fills many British with terror, even more with a sad, futile lack of faith in those who 'lead' this nation, I say lead, I meant 'lead as directed by European dictate'.A depressing, soul crushing prospect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    262:. 'Norway has a population of under 5 million, pays a fortune to the EU each year to trade with the EU and is part of the Schengen agreement but can't affect EU policy.'

    Great standard of living, nationalised oil company leading to fantastic state pensions etc etc. But no, your not interested, you'd much rather have a seat at the big table.

    Personally, I'm quite jealous of Norway..

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Even if the Euro fails another single currency will eventually take its place, and that successor currency will improve on the Euro and we'll be faced with having to join it. The great arc of history is bending towards global unity, a single human government, a single human currency, a single human ideal. We need to stop looking back to the past and look towards that hopeful future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Since the very word "Europe" is ancient Greek for a big grin, the answer is obvious...

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    Of course we should join the Euro. Bar one, countries not in will join as soon as they are allowed. Antis use arguments mainly subjective and linked to "the war"/Germans. Many are just Tories who don't want workers' rights like other states. Any referendum will throw up real arguments for and against. It'll be seen as more patriotic for us and future generations to be firmly part of the Union.


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