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Cameron and Sarkozy in eurozone row

David Cameron has been involved in a furious row with French president Nicolas Sarkozy as tensions over the eurozone crisis boiled over.

The two men clashed during a six-hour EU summit in Brussels as leaders sought to hammer out a solution to the problems gripping the single currency.

The row erupted after Mr Sarkozy tried to insist that a follow-up meeting on Wednesday should be restricted to the 17 eurozone leaders.

At one point in the exchanges, the French president was quoted as telling Mr Cameron: "We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings."

In the end, however, Mr Cameron won his battle to ensure that all 27 member states would be there.

The decision to hold a further summit this week means that Mr Cameron has had to call off visits to Japan and New Zealand ahead of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Perth, Australia.

According to EU officials, Mr Sarkozy complained that he was tired of reading in the newspapers about advice Mr Cameron and his Chancellor were offering the eurozone. He said George Osborne had been present on Saturday for the agreement on strengthening banks - an issue which affects all 27 countries, although Britain will not need to take action.

Now, on the two remaining issues involving only the eurozone, he argued that Britain and the rest should stay away. The argument ran on, with Mr Cameron finally winning a concession involving a one-hour meeting of the 27 leaders before the 17 break away separately for final negotiations.

The Prime Minister said there had been talks on whether the 27 should meet first or second, pointing out that if the 17 had the final say, Europe would risk destabilising market confidence if the other 10 then tried to "unpick" the deal.

At an end-of-summit press conference, Mr Cameron urged the eurozone leaders to take responsibility for delivering a credible response to restore market confidence in the single currency. While progress was being made, he said that more needed to be done ahead of Wednesday's meeting.


From Belfast Telegraph