Britain wins key concession over euro stability pact

George Osborne hinted Britain might be prepared to give extra funding to the IMF to support eurozone countries

Britain appears to have won a key concession from European leaders drawing up the new economic stability pact for the eurozone.

British ministers and officials have had no formal role in drafting the EU fiscal treaty due to be ratified by all EU states, apart from Britain, in March.

But the latest leaked draft of the treaty contains no reference to deeper integration of the single market as one of the objectives of those who sign up to the pact. British officials feared such a reference would lead to key decisions affecting the UK being taken outside the structures of the EU.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman said Downing Street regarded the latest draft as "progress". "Our position has always been that this [26-way] agreement is fundamentally about fiscal rules for the eurozone and how to conduct fiscal policy in the eurozone," he said.

"That seems to be the nature of the draft agreement as it stands. I think there is a view in lots of European countries that this agreement is clearly very important – they need new fiscal rules and greater co-ordination of fiscal policy to make the euro work effectively – but the agreement shouldn't cut across existing treaties."

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