Britain queries use of EU buildings for euro pact

12th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain has doubts about whether European nations should be allowed to use EU buildings to pursue a pact aimed at saving the eurozone, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said Monday.

Cameron last week vetoed a change in the European Union treaty on the grounds that he had to protect Britain's financial services industry -- but the other 26 EU nations agreed in principle on a separate pact without Britain.

Asked whether Britain opposed the use of EU buildings by the 26, Cameron's spokesman told reporters: "What we need to be very clear about is that nothing will happen which will undermine in any way the single market.

"There are issues that are raised by this about institutions serving two masters, the eurozone and the European Union, and we need to look at those issues very carefully."

The spokesman said Britain was now in discussions with the rest of the EU about how the agreement would be implemented "and I think that discussion is likely to go on for some weeks."

"There is clearly a discussion about the use of the institutions, we need to think about how we approach that discussion, and how we approach discussions generally in the EU now things have moved on."

The spokesman's comments came as France and Germany, the countries that pushed for the euro deal, appeared to offer conciliatory comments to Britain.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted on Monday that the European Union was now a two-speed alliance but insisted that Britain would not be forced out of the bloc's single market.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said Monday that Britain remains an "important partner" despite its "regrettable" veto.

But EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn warned that the British veto would not protect the City of London financial district from new regulation.

© 2011 AFP

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