3rd Dec 2023

UK ministers reach agreement on euro issue

After a long meeting yesterday, 5 June, British cabinet ministers finally came to an agreement on whether (or when) Britain should join the single currency, although their decision will not be made public until Monday.

According to the BBC, the cabinet ministers accepted the chancellor Gordon Brown 's recommendation that, economically, the time was not right for Britain to join the euro.

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At the same time, a bill allowing the government to call a euro referendum, was agreed to be published this autumn. The bill was proposed yesterday by British prime minister, Tony Blair. Mr Brown did not oppose the idea, writes the Independent.

UK serious about euro?

This bill does not commit the government to a timescale for the referendum, neither was it decided when it will be pushed through Parliament. It could be seen as a face-saving move to cover the prime minister's failure and show Europe that Britain is serious about joining the single currency.

Mr Brown and the Prime Minister's official spokesman both stressed that the euro decision will be made in the national economic interest.

Test not met

"We are all resolved that the decision on the euro must be taken in the national economic interest, and it will be the national economic interest that will be the determining factor", Mr Brown said to the BBC.

Mr Brown is expected to say on Monday that Britain is not yet ready to join the single currency as all five economic tests have not been met. However, the big question still is whether he will leave the prime minister with an opportunity to have the referendum before the next general elections in 2005 or 2006.


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