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cameron on the eu summit October 24, 2012

Posted by Bradley in : eu , trackback

From a statement to the UK Parliament on October 22:

Britain is not in the eurozone and we will not be joining the eurozone, but it is in our national interest for the uncertainty surrounding the eurozone to end. I have argued for some time that a working eurozone needs a working banking union. It is one of the features that a successful single currency needs. Obviously you do not need a banking union because you have a single market; you need it because you have a single currency—so Britain should not, and will not, be part of that banking union.
Britain’s banks will be supervised by the Bank of England, not by the European Central Bank, and British taxpayers will not be guaranteeing or rescuing eurozone banks, but we do need eurozone members to get on with forming a banking union. At the Council, I joined those who were arguing for progress to be made on the plan that had been announced in June. To put it simply, I believe that it is not enough to have a banking union that is stripped of the very elements—such as mutualised deposit guarantees, a common fiscal backstop and a framework for rescuing banks—that are needed to break the dangerous link in the eurozone between sovereign debt problems and the stability of eurozone banks. But because not all countries outside the eurozone—like Britain—will want to join such a banking union, it is also essential that the unity and integrity of the single market is fully respected. The organisation that currently ensures a level playing field for banking within the single market is the European Banking Authority. We need to make sure that it will continue to function properly, ensuring fair and effective decision making. This, again, is specifically recognised in the conclusions. More broadly, as eurozone countries take steps to deepen their economic and monetary union—as they will—it is important that we secure, as I did, an explicit commitment in the conclusions that the final report and road map in December will include “concrete proposals” to ensure that the integrity of the single market is respected.

In response to questions he said:

We want the eurozone banking to go ahead, but there are dangers, because if the ECB members voted en bloc in the European Banking Authority, they would automatically have qualified majority voting—that is the problem. That is why the conclusions of the summit include these words:
“An acceptable and balanced solution is needed regarding changes to voting modalities and decisions under the European Banking Authority…Regulation.”
That is very important conclusions language that we fought quite a battle to secure. My point is that I do not want to veto the banking union, but unless this problem is properly sorted—and Britain has a totally legitimate argument about why it needs to be sorted—we cannot allow it to go ahead.

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