Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Stay united, Clegg urges Europe

Nick Clegg has urged Europe to remain united after one of his most senior Tory colleagues condemned the eurozone as a "burning building with no exits".

The Deputy Prime Minister warned of the dangers of "fragmentation" amid frantic efforts to control the sovereign debt crisis.

It would be a "disaster" if EU members "turned away from each other" rather than working together to overcome problems, the Liberal Democrat leader told an audience in Poland.

His tone contrasted sharply with that of Foreign Secretary William Hague, who reiterated his desire for Britain to take back powers from Europe - a demand set to be echoed by right-wingers at the Conservative Party conference next week.

Mr Hague described the single currency as a "historical monument to collective folly", and said he believed Germans would have to subsidise weaker members such as Greece for "the rest of their lifetimes".

Mr Clegg's speech to the EU Eastern Partnership summit meeting in Warsaw came as talks resumed between Greek officials, European Commission negotiators, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund over whether Greece can receive another chunk of bailout loans.

He said the eurozone members will have to integrate further to overcome the current crisis.

He stressed that it must not lead to the creation of a "weaker and divisive" EU which sets "euro ins" against "euro outs".

Mr Clegg said: "Our history has been marked by moments of great destruction and turmoil. At each we have had to make a choice: do we allow circumstances to pull us apart or do we overcome our challenges by working together?

"And, when it has counted most, Europeans have stood together. Recognising that we are stronger shoulder-to-shoulder than we are apart. Now, we must do the same again."


From Belfast Telegraph