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WHAT THEY have said"(This) does not mean that Britain is not a generous nation that does not want to help its allies. We have lent €7bn to Ireland, our economies are very integrated and I think the Irish are doing some very difficult things to get their economy back on track. We support them in the work that they are doing." David Cameron, British PM, on exercising the veto over the Brussels Compact.

"I am bitterly disappointed by the outcome of last week's summit, precisely because I think there is now a real danger that over time the United Kingdom will be isolated and marginalised within the European Union. . . If I'd been at the summit, things would have been different. I'm not under the same constraints from my parliamentary party that clearly David Cameron is."

Nick Clegg, deputy British PM.

"We did everything, the German chancellor and I, so that the English would be on board. But from now on, there are clearly two Europes. One that wants more solidarity between members, and regulation; and one that is attached solely to the logic of the single market . . . You have to understand this is the birth of a different Europe -- that of the eurozone."

Nicolas Sarkozy, French president.

"If this move was intended to prevent bankers and financial corporations of the city (of London) from being regulated, that's not going to happen."

Olli Rehn, EU economics commissioner, on Cameron's veto.

"We do not want to somehow revert to clinging on the coat-tails of the United Kingdom in terms of how we deal with European and international affairs. That would be a regressive step which would be hugely damaging to our economy and to our national interest."

Lucinda Creighton, Minister of State for European Affairs.

"My personal wish is that it can be done without constitutional change. But if constitutional change is required, we will have a referendum and we will put the case to the people and it will come down to whether one wants to continue in the euro or not. Because in the nature of referendums, the issue itself might be complex, about new governance rules, (but) in the practical politics it will be dealt with in shorthand, and the shorthand will be 'Do you want to maintain Ireland's position as a eurozone country'."

Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance.

"The fact that the minister's language mirrors almost exactly the proposition used by France and Germany to scupper recent plans for a referendum in Greece will not be lost on people."

Michael McGrath TD, Fianna Fail spokesman on Finance.

"Following the EU Summit of December 9-10, Fitch has concluded that a 'comprehensive solution' to the eurozone crisis is technically and politically beyond reach."

Ratings agency, Fitch.

"They launch threats, even though eurozone states have taken strong and positive decisions. . . a downgrade does not seem to me justified based on economic fundamentals. . . They should start by downgrading the United Kingdom which has bigger deficits, more debt, higher inflation, less growth than us and where credit is shrinking."

Christian Noyer, head of the Bank of France, on threats by the ratings agencies to downgrade France.

Sunday Independent