Eurozone needs to strengthen banks: Britain's Osborne

3rd October 2011, Comments 0 comments

British finance minister George Osborne called Monday on the eurozone to strengthen its banks and to take clear decisions on Greece and "stick" to their course of action.

"The eurozone's financial fund needs maximum firepower, the eurozone needs to strengthen its banks, and the eurozone needs to end all the speculation (and) decide what they are going to do with Greece and then stick to that decision," he told the annual conference of the Conservative party.

Osborne was speaking ahead of a meeting of finance ministers from the 17 eurozone nations in Luxembourg later Monday when they are to examine options for leveraging up the eurozone financial rescue pot.

He said the euro was flawed from the start, telling delegates at the conference in Manchester, northwest England: "Our European neighbours plunged headlong into the euro without thinking through the consequences.

"How could they believe that countries like Germany and Greece could share the same currency, when they had vastly different economies, and no mechanism to adjust?

"For generations to come, people will say thank God Britain didn't join the euro."

Osborne said that when he meets his fellow EU finance ministers for the wider meeting on Tuesday, he would take the message that the eurozone needed to put the final touches to a beefed-up rescue fund and strengthen its banks.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne stressed however that Britain wanted to see the eurozone crisis resolved as soon as possible.

"Britain is not immune to all this instability. Indeed the resolution of the eurozone debt crisis is the single biggest boost to confidence that could happen to the British economy this autumn," he said.

"The time to resolve the crisis is now. They've got to get out and fix their roof even though it's already pouring with rain."

© 2011 AFP

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