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Financial Times

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France, Germany react harshly after Newsnight interview

Berlin, Germany- Speaking after a joint meeting in Berlin, German Finance Minister Theo Waigel and French Economy Minister Michel Sapin expressed their profound disappointment with the Prime Minister following her interview on Newsnight. Speaking with Jeremy Paxman the Prime Minister unequivocally stated that the United Kingdom would not be moving forward further with the Economic and Monetary Union, nor with the development of a single currency or a European central bank.

"I am very disheartened by this sentiment," said Mr Waigel from outside the Chancellory in Berlin. "We had hopes that the new government in the United Kingdom would see through its commitment to a deeper, stronger economic and monetary union in Europe. Now it appears that the Prime Minister is going to be even less flexible or willing to work with us than her predecessor. She may even be a vocal as the former Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, in her opposition to a stronger, more economically prosperous Europe."

Speaking after Mr Waigel, Mr Sapin added that, "Britain has historically come late to seeing reason that the continued economic integration of Europe will do nothing but help our nations prosper. As we continue to build a more integrated single market, one that encourages the flow of goods, services, and capital across borders, the British will see the benefits of a single currency and monetary union in facilitating the strength of the single market. However, if we have to move forward without Britain, we will."

In a brief question period with reporters after their statements, Mr Waigel added that, "It is the economies of Europe, particularly Germany's that outperforms Britain's on every measure. Our commitment to sound fiscal and monetary policy, a commitment that we will bring to the EMU, has enabled that. Perhaps, if she is going to choose dogma over the policies that her party was elected on, then the numbers will make the British Prime Minister see reason and see that a strengthened EMU will not upset her unemployment situation, which we look forward to seeing her solve.
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