British Prime Minister David Cameron told Germany on Friday that Britain needs a stable euro currency, although he would not agree to any EU treaty changes that drew Britain further into supporting the euro.
"Britain is not a member of the euro nor are we likely to become a member of the euro, but we want a strong and stable euro zone," said Cameron. "That is where 50 percent of our trade goes and it is in our interests that that takes place."
Cameron met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and made Germany his second foreign destination as British leader after visiting Paris the previous day.
At their joint news conference, Merkel, who spooked money markets this week by saying the "euro is in danger", said she and Cameron had "talked about how important a stable euro also is for countries who don't belong to the euro zone".
Germany caused market mayhem earlier this week by acting alone, and without consulting its European Union partners, to ban naked sort selling of certain financial instruments, which helped push the euro to a four-year low and routed stocks.
Cameron, asked whether he planned to imitate this ban, replied: "In Britain it would be a matter for the Financial Services Authority and obviously we should respect each others' decisions on these issues."
Some of Germany's euro zone partners were less phlegmatic, with the French government and European Commission voicing irritation at the unilateral move, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner saying such measures tended to be unhelpful.
Cameron said debate should focus instead on the "real causes" of the problems suffered by European economies, citing their excessive debt and deficits as well as financial system and banking failures "that have dragged our economies down".
"Those are the problems, we have to tackle the problems, and get to the source of the problems, and then we will find the symptoms will be less of a problem," he said.
"No transfer" of power to Brussels
Cameron voiced his admiration for the German chancellor's "determination and leadership". Merkel had expressed her fears before the British election month that eurosceptic tendencies in his party could weaken the EU if it came to power.
Such tendencies in his centre-right Conservative party may be toned down by its partnership with the centre-left Liberal Democrats, and Cameron said he had asked Merkel for advice due to experience leading an earlier German "Grand Coalition" between her conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats.
"I am sure this will be the start of a very strong and positive partnership based on results and practical actions in the interests of our countries," said Cameron regarding his future relationship with Berlin.
He stressed areas of agreement and said they would work together on the G20 and G8 agendas "particularly in terms of banking regulation, making sure that banks are serving our economies rather than our economies serving banks".
But, reiterating that Britain was unlikely to join the EU currency union, Cameron said there was "no question" of London accepting any EU treaty change "that transfers power from Westminster to Brussels".
That contrasts with earlier comments by Merkel, who has said that changes to the EU treaty are unavoidable if the bloc wants to learn from the Greek debt crisis.
Cameron said Britain "wouldn't agree to any arrangements or treaty that drew us further into supporting the euro area", stressing that this would require unanimous support of all 27 EU member states -- "including the UK, which of course has a veto".
ReutersLast Mod: 22 Mayıs 2010, 10:20