Eurozone members will not let euro fail: Britain

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Countries in the eurozone have an enormous amount invested in the single currency and will not let the Greek crisis bring it down, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday.

"The countries that joined the euro have an enormous amount invested in it and do not want it to, and will not let it, fail," he told reporters in London.

"They see it as an absolutely key part now of their national interest and identities and I would not doubt their resolve in any way."

While insisting that Britain, a member of the European Union but not the single currency, should not be involved in any new bailout for Greece, Cameron stressed that stability in the eurozone was vital to British interests.

"I think that Britain suffers when the eurozone struggles. Forty percent of our exports go to eurozone countries," he said.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday faced a vote of confidence in his new government as his country seeks to avert bankruptcy and stave off chaos across the 17-nation eurozone.

The prime minister was widely expected to narrowly win the vote, and a victory would almost certainly mean he would then get backing for vital austerity cuts and privatisations in a separate vote next week.

The eurozone issued an ultimatum to Greece on Monday, when it held back the latest slice of an EU-IMF rescue loan from last year.

Greece needs the 12-billion-euro ($17-billion-dollar) loan instalment to pay bills next month, but a bigger issue for the whole eurozone is a new huge loan needed by Athens to avoid default on its debt in the months and years ahead.

Germany insists this must involve losses for private lenders such as banks and insurance companies.

Any involvement in a bailout of Greece would be deeply unpopular in Britain, and Cameron insisted Tuesday this was not on the cards.

"I don't want to see the European financial mechanism involved in bailing out Greece and I don't think Britain should be participating in that bailout," he said.

Cameron earlier vowed to "fight very hard" to defend this position at a meeting of European leaders on Thursday and Friday where a bailout for Greece will be top of the agenda.

© 2011 AFP

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