More money for Brussels?
Chancellor George Osborne has raised the possibility of British taxpayers having to make a bigger contribution to the eurozone’s rescue package through the International Monetary Fund. He said, “We have indicated our willingness to consider our position on resources for the IMF.” Britain’s potential liabilities via the IMF are currently capped at $20 billion (£12.6 billion), of which around a quarter has been deployed to date.
More power to Brussels?
Osborne said after September’s G7 summit in Chicago, “It’s on the cards that a treaty change may be proposed … This would be to further integrate the eurozone, further strengthen fiscal integration. I have said there is a remorseless logic from monetary union to fiscal union, and it’s in Britain’s interests that the euro zone is stable.” He indicated that the government would support a new treaty. Labour’s Ed Balls too has changed from being against further integration to supporting it. Jean-Claude Trichet, outgoing head of the European Central Bank, has reiterated his support for a change to the EU treaty to allow for the outside imposition of economic policy on a member state.
With support like that...
An EU task force to Greece said it aimed “to support the country”. The team arrived in Athens as fresh figures put unemployment in the country at a record 16.3 per cent, with 32.9 per cent of young people out of work. The IMF says the Greek economy may contract by 5.5 per cent this year, a direct result of the “austerity” forced on Greece by the EU and the IMF.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was asked about his views on the euro at the party’s conference in Birmingham. He said, “I don’t think anyone could have predicted at the time the euro was created that the rules which were supposed to be in place to ensure that everybody looked after their own financial affairs properly would be so spectacularly ignored and broken.” This is untrue – lots of workers and even some politicians and economists predicted exactly what has happened. ■