BP chairman leads calls for UK to join the single currency

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The Independent Online

The global economic crisis has strengthened the case for the pound joining the euro, according to a pamphlet written by senior business people, economists and commentators to mark the 10th anniversary of the single currency.

In 10 Years of the Euro: new perspectives for Britain, Sir Peter Sutherland, the chairman of BP and a former European commissioner, warns: "The UK's current leadership in discussions of the international economic and financial architecture will prove ephemeral if the country insists on remaining outside the most relevant part of the framework of co-ordination for its own economy."

Hard economic realities also make the case for the single currency, the group adds. The large size of the UK's banking sector in relation to GDP – 400 to 450 per cent – is, says, Professor Willem Buiter, a former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, another factor.

"The British always join European projects in the end, reluctantly," he said. "The problems of being a country with a large international banking sector and a currency that's not a reserve currency have been revealed for all to see." He says: "It is time to revisit the five tests, to declare them passed and... for the UK to adopt the euro."

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