December 1, 2008 / 2:26 PM / 11 years ago

Britain says "no change" in policy on euro

A euro coin is held in front of the Union Jack in an undated file photo. REUTERS/Peter MacDiarmid

LONDON (Reuters) - The government has not changed its position on the euro and has no plans to do so, a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday.

The official was responding to comments by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who said at the weekend that some key British figures were beginning to think about adopting the single European currency.

“We have no plans to change our position on the euro,” the spokesman told reporters. “There is no change in our position, there is no intention to change our position.”

Barroso told France’s RTL radio that British leaders had told him in conversation they would be better off now — given the financial market turmoil — if they had adopted the much more widely used euro as their currency.

“I don’t mean to say that it will be tomorrow and I know that the majority in Britain remain opposed to this idea, but it is evolving and the people who count in the United Kingdom are in the process of thinking about it,” Barroso said.

But Brown’s spokesman said: “I think the person who counts the most is the prime minister and his position is quite clear that we have no plans to join the euro.”

Britain’s Labour government has long said it supports the euro in principle but that five economic tests on convergence must be met before Britain would consider joining.

“Our decision on whether or not we would join the euro would be based on an assessment of what is in the British national economic interest,” the spokesman added.

Reporting by Adrian Croft; Writing by Kate Kelland; Editing by Katie Nguyen

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