Staggering EMU supported

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The Independent Online
STRONG backing for a multi- speed approach to European monetary union, in which countries could join at different times, came yesterday from Hilmar Kopper, head of Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest.

In the aftermath of 'Black Wednesday' he said he believed Europe would move towards monetary union at several different speeds. In a speech in London, Mr Kopper said he found it astonishing that this approach had caused so much confusion.

Movement at more than one speed had been a characteristic of the entire course of European integration. The Maastricht treaty prescribed 'nothing other than a step-by-step approach'.

Britain was ahead of Germany and several other countries in introducing complete freedom of capital movement. The exchange rate mechanism began in 1979, without the UK, and the Schengen agreement removing border controls was between eight of the 12 member states.

Mr Kopper said: 'I wish to stress that, in the long term, I cannot imagine European integration without the UK with its parliamentary system, and also with London, in its role as a financial centre.'

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