Britain's Hague wants powers returned from Europe

10th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that he would like powers returned to London from Brussels but coalition politics had prevented such a move, in an interview published on Saturday.

He told the Times newspaper paper that taking back powers from Europe was "clearly something I'm in favour of" but the idea was sacrificed to form a coalition between his Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

"Thats the area we had to compromise on in return for other compromises," he said.

He insisted however that the aim of winning back powers from the European Union had not been abandoned and was a Conservative issue for the future. "We would like to see powers returned from the EU to the United Kingdom," he added.

Britain might even do better if it distanced itself from Europe, he added. Britain is a member of the 27-nation European Union but has stayed out of the eurozone, which has 17 members.

"In fact we may get ahead as a result of being outside," said Hague.

He said that his long-standing opposition to the single currency had been vindicated by the crisis gripping the eurozone, criticising the euro as "always a giant mistake."

"It will stand as a monument in time to how groupthink can go so seriously away from what is realistic," he said.

The European Union has long been a divisive issue for the rightwing Conservatives, with some of the party's lawmakers vehemently opposed to working with the bloc while others are more willing to do so.

The centrist Lib Dems, led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, are more pro-European.

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats formed Britain's first coalition government, with the Lib Dems as the junior partner, since World War II following an inconclusive general election in May 2010.

© 2011 AFP

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