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British Prime Minister Says UK Will Never Join Euro

Friday, 9 Dec 2011 | 3:26 AM ET

British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing criticisms of leaving the UK isolated after he said he would not agree to a new European Union treaty.

David Cameron
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David Cameron

The British Prime Minister also took the unusual step of telling assembled journalists in Brussels on Friday Britain “would never join the euro”. He addded that proposals put forward by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were not something he could agree to and then take back to the UK to put to a vote in parliament in “good conscience.”

Cameron said he had exercised Britain’s veto in order to prevent a treaty of all 27 member states being drawn up after failing to win concessions over European regulation of financial services.

The UK Prime Minister had pressed for Britain to be exempted from any new financial services regulations from Europe as the price for a new EU Treaty. He is particularly concerned about the possible imposition of a financial transactions tax – also known as the Robin Hood Tax – which he believes would cripple the City of London as a global financial centre.

"In return for the treaty that they want - to sort out the problems of the euro zone - I want to make sure we get a good deal for Britain, we keep our markets open and we have the power here in the UK to make sure that our top industries are properly promoted and enhanced," Cameron said.

"We want the euro zone countries to come together and solve their problems. But we should only allow that to happen within the EU treaties if there are proper protections for the single market, for other key British interests."

"Without those safeguards it is better not to have a treaty within a treaty, but have those countries make their arrangements separately,” he added.

So far Britain and Hungary have removed themselves from the negotiations on fiscal integration. Sweden and the Czech Republic will take the proposals back to their parliaments for MPs for vote on before agreeing in full.

Talks will continue throughout the day with an intergovernmental agreement now the route being taken by European leaders. The remaining six EU member states not currently members of the single currency are still involved in those negotiations making the intergovernmental agreement possible. Such an agreement may be viewed as a treaty in all but name.

Earlier on Friday Sarkozy told reporters he expected that agreement to be signed by March 2012. In terms of the British position on the negotiations, he told reporters it was "a bit rich" for Britain to tell the euro zone to sort its problems out while at the same time creating a two-tier Europe by refusing to engage.

“Look, you can’t say you don’t want to be in the euro on the one hand and on the other be part of a treaty that involves a currency that you don’t want and more often than not criticize,” he added.

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