The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has reignited the debate about Britain’s membership of the Euro by telling a French radio station that "the people who matter in Britain
are currently thinking about [joining]."
Within the thread for today’s homepage Richard Robinson suggests that Lord Mandelson leads those "people who matter". In 2003, Mandelson linked membership of the Euro to his understanding of centre left politics:
“The euro issue goes to the heart
of the UK’s national economic interest. But Britain’s place in Europe
is also at the heart of the left’s project in this country. You can be
pro-European and not of the centre-left but you cannot be of the
centre-left and not committed to Britain playing its full part in
Europe. It is fundamental to our ambition of creating a Britain rooted
in the best of centre-left values: greater equality, solidarity and
opportunity. That’s why Labour – as the party of full employment and
higher living standards for working people in today’s globalised
economy – supports European integration and euro entry.”
Interviewed on Saturday, Lord Mandelson renewed his support for the euro but ruled out serious discussion of membership until the current economic crisis had passed.
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague – whose leadership of the Conservative Party did so much to prevent Britain joing the euro – has reacted by ruling out membership if the Conservatives form the next British Government:
“It is extraordinary that certain politicians are whispering to the EU Commission about joining the euro behind the British people’s backs. Keeping the pound is vital for Britain’s economic future. We need interest rates that are right for Britain, not the rest of Europe. There are no circumstances in which the next Conservative Government will propose joining the Euro. If Labour ministers still want to get Britain into the euro they should come out and say so. We will be putting questions to the Government to find out what conversations have been going on.”
65% of Tory members recently said that they "never" wanted UK membership of the eurozone.