Letter: Hang fire on euro

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The Independent Culture
Sir; Donald Macintyre (Comment, 1 February) argues that the Chancellor and the Prime Minister should "ratchet up" their commitment to the euro and state "the Government's firm intention to join." Mr Macintyre and other commentators feel it is necessary for the Government to go beyond the policy on which it was elected, which was further clarified by Gordon Brown with the five economic tests for entry. The policy remains both plausible and robust.

The last year has seen global financial crises, and there are indications that they may not be over yet. The euro is only one month old, and while many of us are confident that it will be a success and survive any future crises, I am not convinced that it would be wise or in the interests of the UK economy to indicate that we should unreservedly join, or give a date for joining.

The euro has no track record. To announce at this stage that we should join, before the date for a referendum has been set, or give a date for joining would be folly.

What we need is an informed debate, with those of us who are almost certain to be in the "yes" camp arguing the case for the euro and taking it to the country, not to the Prime Minister or the Chancellor.

The public must make up its own mind eventually at a referendum. In the meantime ministers can prepare, and need only make a decision once the economic tests have been satisfied.

There is curiosity among my non-UK Socialist colleagues here in Brussels about the possible timing of UK entry, but I don't detect the impatience that I see in both the europhile and eurosceptic press in the UK.


(Lancashire Central, Lab)

Spokesperson on Economic and Monetary Affairs for the Parliamentary Group of the Party of European Socialists