Europe: Decision action urged on eurozone debt crisis

Cameron and Merkel acknowledge differences but say measures must be taken to stabilise eurozone after talks in Berlin.

Watch the video, 2.27 min, published on Al Jazeera, Nov. 19, 2011 … //

… The opposing views were threatening to put the two camps on a collision course ahead of a December 9 EU summit to hammer out changes to the fiscal rule book for the 27-member bloc.

Euro tension:

Berlin has accused London of being selfish about Europe as the UK are against an idea of a financial transactions tax, described by one UK minister as a “tax on Britain”.

Cameron restated his opposition to a Franco-German proposal for the so-called Tobin tax on financial transactions,
which Britain believes would have a withering effect on its financial sector.

The idea, also backed by France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, has caused alarm in the UK amid concerns that the US, China and other major economies may not come on board, and the City of London would be seriously damaged if the tax is only applied across Europe.

Prior to the talks in Berlin, The Financial Times reported that Cameron would be prepared to back Merkel’s plans to strengthen economic union in the eurozone, on condition he wins safeguards to protect the UK from any European legislation.

In the wake over the eurozone crisis, Merkel is prescribing altering the EU treaty to impose German-style budget discipline, preferably on all 27 members of the EU, rather than just the 17 countries in the eurozone.

Peter Altmaier, chief whip of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the Bundestag, told the Reuters news agency that “plans for a possible treaty change are now at a very interesting point and we expect to exchange views with our British partners”.

Big bazooka:

However, treaty change talk seems to irritate Cameron’s conservative-led coalition for two reasons: it falls far short
of the “big bazooka” response he urges; and it touches a raw nerve about ceding more sovereignty to the European Commission in Brussels.

Britain is already worried that Germany’s proposals for a tax on financial transactions – which it still wants introduced in Europe despite rejection by the Group of 20 leading economies would hurt London’s competitiveness as a financial hub … (full text).

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