Juncker tells Britain not to spoil euro summit deal

Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday he hoped Britain would not stand in the way of a solid response to the euro zone debt crisis when leaders meet to consider treaty changes and other measures on Thursday night and Friday.
Speaking on French state radio, Juncker, who chairs meetings of finance ministers from the euro zone, said the euro was not under threat but EU governments had to come up with a response that stemmed the debt crisis.
Juncker said Britain, considered a reluctant partner in the drive to tighten up financial sector regulation, should not be allowed stand in the way of treaty changes and other measures needed to address the crisis that has engulfed the euro area.
"There has to be a deal," he told France Info radio, adding regarding the currency shared by 17 countries, "The euro itself ... is in no way at risk."

"We need a solid agreement. I would like a treaty deal that commits the 27 (EU member countries) but if it turned out that there were countries among the 27 unwilling to go along with us ... we will do it with 17 (euro zone countries)," he said.
"I don't want the United Kingdom setting aside entire pages to say the United Kingdom will not do what all the others have to do. I will not accept that," he said, citing specifically the need to tighten financial sector regulation.

EU leaders meet for a working dinner in Brussels on Thursday evening before a formal summit meeting on Friday where the leaders of France and Germany are proposing a package of reforms to tighten up on fiscal discipline and governance of the euro zone.

Asked whether issuance of common euro zone government bonds was an option, he said it was something that should be considered for the longer term even if not something that could be rolled out in coming months or before there was closer coordination of fiscal policy in the euro zone.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's announced earlier this week that it had put sovereign credit ratings under review across the euro zone, signaling that some countries could be downgraded.

Juncker said he was stunned by the ferocity of the ratings agencies but was willing to believe the timing of the announcement was more an accident than deliberate.

"I'm not the spokesman for Standard & Poor's but I can say after what the ratings agencies did is that a bit of pressure is not unwelcome, but that the pressure would have existed even if there hadn't been these warnings from the agencies," he said.
Juncker is prime minister of Luxembourg.


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