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Sunday 18 March 2018

Cameron presses for new EU deal

Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for the EU summit in Brussels (AP)
Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for the EU summit in Brussels (AP)
Prime Minister David Cameron during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels (AP)

A new EU deal for Britain will be forged on the back of sweeping changes to shore up the struggling eurozone, David Cameron said.

He made clear at a summit in Brussels that banking union and deeper integration between the 17 eurozone member states was the springboard for negotiating what he calls a new "settlement" for the UK in Europe.

An overnight accord between EU finance ministers paved the way for the summit to endorse a single eurozone banking supervisor - the backbone of a full banking union to buttress the battered single currency against future economic shocks.

EU leaders are now trying to reinforce the outline deal on supervision with a more detailed eurozone recovery "roadmap" which includes new measures on bank "resolution" - how to handle failing banks - and on minimum standards for deposit guarantee schemes.

The 15-page report presented at the Brussels summit also looks at even greater eurozone fiscal integration in future, including co-ordination of national budget decisions and economic policies.

Mr Cameron praised Chancellor George Osborne's role in reaching a banking union deal - after winning safeguards for British banking sovereignty.

The Prime Minister said: "I think the Chancellor has done an excellent job because the European Union, the eurozone, needs a banking union but Britain won't be part of this banking union and we have properly protected our interests in the single market."

But he said the UK's new place in the EU was not currently on the agenda, adding: "These are broader discussions really about how Europe is changing and a lot of that change is being driven because of the euro and because the countries in the euro need to integrate more, need to integrate their institutions more.

"Britain's not in the euro, we're not going to join the euro, so we won't be part of that integration. But this change taking place does give us the opportunities to argue for the things that we want in Europe and get a better deal for Britain in Europe."

Mr Cameron added: "That's what I'm interested in discussing and pursuing for Britain. That won't be decided today but it's a start of some important conversations where I think Britain can actually do better."

Press Association

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