Eurozone crisis: Cameron backs euro but opposes more integration


UK Prime Minister David Cameron: "Urgent action is needed"

David Cameron has said he wants the euro to succeed but insists the UK will not be part of further integration seen as "necessary" to help it continue.

Speaking in Berlin, ahead of talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the prime minister said the UK's "healthy growth" was linked to the eurozone's fortunes.

But he said the UK would not underwrite Spanish and Greek bank deposits or support an EU-wide financial tax.

Mrs Merkel has suggested that further political union was a pre-condition.

Mr Cameron has said the uncertainty surrounding the eurozone is the biggest threat to global prosperity and a "whole series of measures" is needed to restore market confidence in the ability of countries to pay their debts and support banking liabilities.


David Cameron has deliberately avoided piling direct pressure on Germany to shoulder all the responsibility, saying he felt it wasn't right to single out one government.

But he has sought to keep up the pressure in other ways by saying that time was of the essence and the eurozone crisis was the single biggest threat to the world economy.

That message has been backed up by President Obama, who called both the German chancellor and the Italian prime minister the diplomatic equivalent of banging heads together.

In truth, though, the urgency of the situation is not in doubt - it's the means to resolve it where disagreement can still be found.

For example, Germany doesn't like the idea of bailing out Spanish banks directly - Spain doesn't like the idea of taking money with strings.

David Cameron will have to tread a delicate path - being outside the eurozone club he cannot dictate terms, but he's also all too aware that a quick solution is vital for stability and growth at home.

The UK is pressing for a series of solutions, including a larger bailout fund, euro bonds and structural reform within the European Union - which could lead to greater fiscal burden-sharing between the poorest and wealthiest countries.

The prime minister said all Europe's economies, whether in the euro or not, needed a swift resolution of the current instability, and the single currency area as a whole needed to act to demonstrate it could "live within its means".

"We want the euro to succeed and the eurozone to solve the problems it faces so that all European countries - including ours - can get back to healthy growth."

The UK has welcomed plans set out by the European Commission to move towards a common "banking union" across the eurozone - which could allow central authorities to intervene before a bank gets into trouble to prevent taxpayers having to bail it out later on.

'Not our currency'

The prime minister said there was "no doubt" the eurozone would have to work more closely together on banking supervision and in other areas in future as "we know that it is necessary for the single currency to deal with these issues so it can work properly in the future".

But he stressed that the UK - which is not a member of the eurozone - would not be taking part and it was his job to protect British interests as Europe evolved.

"Because we are not in the single currency, we won't take part in the profound elements of that banking union. I wouldn't ask British taxpayers to stand behind the Greek or Spanish deposits. It is not our currency, so that would be inappropriate to do."

UK Chancellor George Osborne said he wanted to ensure safeguards were in place to protect Britain's financial sector if there were moves towards a banking union.

"There is no way that Britain is going to be part of any eurozone banking union," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "I think Britain will require certain safeguards if there is a full blown banking union."

He stressed the UK coalition government's commitment to a referendum on Europe in the event of a "significant transfer of power and sovereignty" to the EU but said he did not believe that would necessarily happen as a result of the current negotiations.

Mrs Merkel told German television on Thursday that Europe needed "a political union first and foremost" and that individual countries must "cede responsibilities to Europe step-by-step".

But at a joint press conference with Mr Cameron, Mrs Merkel said different EU countries had taken part in different aspects of political and economic integration in the past, and this approach would continue.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    "Le Bloke
    And the advantages of being in the EZ would be?"

    Ironically, they would have been to force the UK (as one of those states that does normally abide by EU rules) to stick to the Maastrict rules on public deficit and debt so Gordon Brown couldn't have gone on his spending binge. Private debt would have been a different problem, of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    "447.Andy The Thinker

    How exquisite a moment must that have been for Cameron?

    Germany begging Britian for help with the Euro mess.

    Sublimely satisfying by the sound of it."

    I don't see any begging by Germany, far from it. I strongly expect that it's Cameron who's getting the lecture (behind closed doors).

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    One has to ask.what's in it for the likes of Mr.Cameron?,nothing for Britain thats for sure.
    If only our politicians could see further than their friends in the banking world,they might see that it is investment in our depleted industries that will help us out of our problems,not sucking up to the Germans or the Euro.

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    What else could DC say?

    It matters not becasue no one in the Euro zone is listening to him anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    Norway is not in the Euro. It exports the majority of its vast energy wealth and uses reneables. It is an essential partner strateigically and a reliable ally in war. It even gives us the names with wick and son in! We have more in common with our Scandanavian cousins than we do with France or Spain. Especially up north. Yet our last PM to go and see their PM was Thatcher. Well done Dave!

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    How exquisite a moment must that have been for Cameron?

    Germany begging Britian for help with the Euro mess.

    Sublimely satisfying by the sound of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    If the euro dies which it will and we all no it will , it will be hard on us but it will be over in about 10 years but it won't be anywhere near as bad as it will be for us if it does not die , we need the euro to go and us to get out of the eu asap

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    Yes the UK needs a successful eurozone, as we need global markets to be successful to buy our goods or services. This is separate from any question of whether the UK should be in the Eurozone. As it is such a mess, joining the Eurozone would be akin to boarding the Titanic before it hit the iceberg. We need the Euro to miss the iceberg whilst Sterling watches, in control of our own fiscal policy

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    these people havnt got a clue.....let the scientists and engineers run the economy, economists and rulers are useless.what has happened in the eurozone was predicted 20 years ago its not rocket science.

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    u do not have to be einstein to know the eurozone has an important part to play in british economics,but instead of standing around blaming everybodyelse cameron ought to get off his soapbox and try and kick start our economy,after all his opinion is not particuarly welcome in europe.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    429 It is Gordon Brown to thank for keeping us out of the Euro

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    423. Is it not interesting how lefties like you can never help but engage in insults. It's as though you feel you can never win the argument without denouncing those who opposed you. But I suppose that's in the best of trot tradition huh.

    Was that supposed to be ironic parody?

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    404. Ppuj

    Did you know that the national debt doubled under Major? It also did under Thatcher. As a businessman, could you enlighten us on the advantages for business of holding onto hundreds of tons of gold that produce no income, cannot be used as collateral and costs a fortune to store. Especially an asset that was 25% of its value 20 years before and (in 2000) showed no signs of recovery

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    The only surety is that the poor will continue to enable the rich.

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    talking about Euro zone failed states add
    California and many other states- bankrupt ,cutting police ,teachers etc

    Europe- UK on the brink ,cutting police ,and other
    public jobs.

    SO do not PATRONISE and be SMUG ; you are in the same dodo as anybody else .
    AND you are no better than anybody else ! ! !

    AS long POWER is the hands of the MONEY MEN = YOU are a money SLAVE

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    I am all in favour of debate ad am willing to accept another persons opinion based on the facts as they see them, what is not acceptable is comments made at 399 which to be frank is completely unproductive - ad before you comment I concede that with the last post of mine I began to stumble in to that pit myself.
    You should read a little Voltere

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    423. Is it not interesting how lefties like you can never help but engage in insults. It's as though you feel you can never win the argument without denouncing those who opposed you. But I suppose that's in the best of trot tradition huh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    The only reason Cameroon wants the Euro to succeed is so that we can get our money back. ALL OF IT and not some 5p in the £ deal in 5 yrs time.


    me me, yes please

  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    411.jesus bermudez
    You've missed the point, If the Euro goes the UK will suffer significant collateral damage. You've also done us beleagured supporters of the EU a favour in showing how facile and misleading are the arguments of the anti-Europeans here. Apart from the spiv elements in the City, an EU financial crash will do NOBODY here any good. Even the Bullingdons should be able to grasp that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    "Cameron: UK wants euro to succeed". Not me, Dave.

    I want the Euro to fail - and take the soviet-style EU project down with it.


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