British finance minister issues EU warning

15th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

British finance minister George Osborne was on Wednesday to warn European Union countries that they could face terminal decline unless the bloc is reformed.

The Conservatives chancellor will repeat his government's determination to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership before putting them to the country in an in/out referendum after the next general election in 2015.

"The biggest economic risk facing Europe doesn't come from those who want reform and renegotiation -- it comes from a failure to reform and renegotiate," he was to tell a conference on EU reform organised by Open Europe and the Fresh Start Project.

"It is the status quo which condemns the people of Europe to an ongoing economic crisis and continuing decline. And so there is a simple choice for Europe: reform or decline.

"Our determination is clear: to deliver the reform, and then let the people decide," he was to add.

Osborne will highlight Europe's lack of competitiveness as a particular problem.

"Over the last six years, the European economy has stalled.

"In the same period, the Indian economy has grown by a third. The Chinese economy by 50 percent.

"Make no mistake, our continent is falling behind."

© 2014 AFP

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