Automotive industry companies wanting the UK to join the euro could be in for a long wait.
According to the BBC, chancellor Gordon Brown has stressed that Britain will adopt the European single currency only if his five tests for euro entry are unambiguously met. So far, only one has.
The BBC said that, despite his recent pledge to step up preparations for euro entry, Brown sounded a characteristic note of caution on the issue, in his annual speech to banking and business leaders at London’s Mansion House on Wednesday.
According to the BBC, he said there would be “no short-cuts and no fudge” on the five tests for whether the UK should adopt the single currency.
“To join in the wrong way or on the wrong basis without rigorously ensuring the tests are met would not be in the national economic interest.
“And we will do nothing to put stability, growth, or the funding of public services at risk,” he reportedly said.
According to the BBC, Brown added that Britain would be able to continue shaping European Union (EU) policies and institutions from outside the eurozone.
He reportedly said that gradual EU moves towards market liberalisation, coupled with the imminent accession of 10 new members who broadly share the UK’s free-market agenda, showed that the debate was shifting in Britain’s favour.
“What is new, I believe, is that we can show that the enlarged Europe is changing and will change in line with the values – economic stability, free trade, liberalisation – that Britain holds important,” he reportedly said.
The BBC said Brown’s remarks will be seen as a retort to warnings from the pro-euro camp that Britain risks losing influence within the EU if it fails to adopt the single currency.
The BBC said the chancellor urged other EU nations to throw their weight behind structural reforms needed to deliver the full potential benefits of the European single market. He also called for a tougher EU competition regime and faster progress in integrating European capital markets, and said Europe needed to make its labour markets more flexible.