Monday 21 August 2017

Cameron must bring Britain into the euro

Mary Dejevsky

ALMOST six weeks have passed since Nicolas Sarkozy memorably told David Cameron to shut up. But the French president didn't stop there; he also told him why it was time for him to hold his peace. "We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do," it was reported. "You say you hate the euro, and now you want to interfere in our meetings."

In so saying, Sarkozy highlighted Cameron's dilemma as acutely as anyone either before or since. For this is exactly what Cameron was trying to do -- what he has been trying to do ever since the euro crisis erupted, and what he will attempt to do again today, at the latest "make-or-break" get-together of EU leaders. He wants to keep Britain on the outside of the eurozone, while maintaining a big-power say on what happens inside. As Sarkozy rightly implied, this is an essentially ignoble and dishonest ambition.

So far, though, Cameron has just about been able to hold the line, however unpopular this might have made him elsewhere in Europe. Both he and his chancellor, George Osborne, have managed at once to insist on the continued wisdom of keeping Britain outside the euro, while demanding a voice among those whose immediate financial fate is truly at stake. But those days of sitting on the fence, of having cake and eating it, are coming to an end -- and that could be as soon as today.

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