'Incredibly Glad' UK Not in Euro Zone: Lord Digby Jones
Associate Editor, CNBC
It is perfectly obvious that the euro zone cannot run as it is without fiscal union and a surrender of sovereignty, Lord Digby Jones, former director general at the Confederation of British Industry told CNBC Monday.
"We've seen two democratically elected leaders removed and technocrats put in place to the approval of Berlin, we are preciously close to political union anyway," Jones said.
"Business badly needs a free trade area of 520 million sophisticated consumers and an environmental policy because pollution does not respect national boundaries.
But what Cameron is saying is that that is unacceptable to the British people, it's probably unacceptable to the Swedes, the Northern Europeans anyway," he added.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron held talks in Berlin at the end of last week with German chancellor Angela Merkel with several contentious issues still without agreement between the two leaders.
Cameron is under pressure from euro-skeptic members of his own party who, seeing the crisis of the single currency, feel vindicated in pushing for a repatriation of powers from Brussels back to the UK.
The issue of the UK losing powers to Brussels is hotly debated in the UK and calls for the British people to have a referendum on membership of the EU have once again come to the fore in recent weeks as the euro zone crisis has deepened. One sticking point between the two has been the proposal of a financial transaction tax in Europe which Britain argues will punish the city of London undermining its competitiveness.
Digby said that it was time for Britain to distance itself from 20 years of social legislation because many EU laws did not suit the UK.
"This is not little England, 'we're all over here, they can do it and we'll just pluck the good bits'.
The bit where I think Cameron has got an ace up his sleeve is: where is the sense in passing laws that say if you work more than 48 hours a week I'll send you to prison? We must row back from the 'sales prevention' team in Brussels", Digby said.
Lord Digby added that Britain had no desire to help run the euro zone or indeed be part of it as the current crisis unfolds.
"Don't think that Britain is sitting here saying, 'oh we wish we were at the party', we're incredibly glad we are not at the party.
We do not feel left out of this, we are very pleased we do not have your (euro zone) problems," Digby argued.
He added that Britain's role in EU was one of enhancing trade and business.
"We have a flexible labor market which Brussels aches for. Germany, France, and others all invest and trade a lot with us. We are essential to their economy just as they are to us," Lord Digby said.
He said Europe was reaping thirty years of enhancing the social side to Europe at the expense of growing the economy.
"Cameron must put the pressure on Merkel. It's in Merkel's interest that we keep selling to Europe so that Germany can keep selling to us," Digby said.