May 15, 2012 / 6:27 AM / in 6 years

Osborne blames economy woes on euro zone

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Chancellor George Osborne on Monday blamed Britain’s economic woes on turmoil in the euro zone, defending the case for his government’s austerity programme.

“The euro zone crisis is having a real impact on growth across the European continent, including Britain,” Osborne said before meeting European finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

His comments are likely to irritate fellow European governments who are trying to stem a sovereign debt crisis.

Britain has put pressure on euro zone states to get on top of their debt problems, but it refused to sign up to an EU wide fiscal pact last year aimed at resolving the crisis.

“The British recovery has been damaged over the last two years not by Britain getting a grip on its public finances but by uncertainty in the euro zone,” he said.

“It is that uncertainty, not austerity, that is doing the real damage to the European recovery, and indeed the British recovery.”

Reporting by Matt Falloon

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