Saturday 16 December 2017

Eurozone economy on right road says British Chancellor

Geoff Meade, Andrew Woodcock and Diana Pilkington

EUROZONE leaders have put the continent's economy on "the right road" with their agreement last night on measures to resolve the crisis in the single currency, British Chancellor George Osborne said today.

Mr Osborne said the eurozone countries had made "very good progress" in talks which stretched into the early hours in Brussels, but cautioned that it was now necessary to keep momentum up and deliver precise details on how the three-part agreement will work.



And he insisted that Britain will not contribute money to the European Financial Stability Facility bailout fund or to any IMF package specifically targeted at the eurozone area.



Officials in Brussels said an accord had been reached with banks on a 50pc write-off of Greek debt and they also approved a complex mechanism to boost the eurozone's main bailout fund to €1 trillion euro.



It means that, coupled with an earlier decision to recapitalise vulnerable banks, the summit has delivered on the package it promised.



Mr Osborne told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think they have made very good progress on the key issues they need to make progress on.



"I think they got a good agreement last night. Of course, we have now got to get the detail. There is still quite a lot of detail to fill in.



"The crucial thing this morning is to maintain the momentum, to ensure that we don't see what happened in July, when they agreed another package but then it took months to put it into practice.



"We have got to maintain the momentum from last night to ensure we turn a good package into something that has actually got all the detail and is going to work in practice."



Mr Osborne added: "It is going to be a tough road ahead but they are on the right road and it is massively in the British national interest that they sort these problems out, because the instability in the eurozone is having a chilling effect on the British economy."



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