Britain on its own if markets strike: French official

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Britain may find itself on its own if it comes under pressure from the markets, France's chief financial regulator warned on Tuesday, after London refused to join Europe's trillion-dollar rescue package.

Britain is not part of the eurozone single currency bloc and refused to help pay for the 750-billion-euro package put together this week by its European Union partners to shore up debt-ridden economies like Greece.

"The British will certainly find themselves targeted, given the political difficulties they have," said Jean-Pierre Jouyet, head of France's AMF market regulator, as British parties struggled in London to negotiate a coalition.

Speaking on Europe 1 radio, the French official said that by standing outside the European rescue package, Britain had left itself alone to face a possible onslaught by currency traders on the pound.

"If you don't want to show solidarity with the eurozone, wait and see what happens outside it," Jouyet said.

He warned that there was now what he sees as a "three-speed Europe" comprising "the Europe of the euro, the Europe of those countries that understand the euro such as Sweden and Poland, and the British."

© 2010 AFP

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