The mayor speaks out about the eurozone
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has warned eurozone leaders are “in danger of saving the cancer and not the patient” in their quest to rescue the single currency.
Johnson insisted any treaty signed by all 27 EU nations which creates a fiscal union within the euro area should either be vetoed by prime minister David Cameron, or put to a public vote. The mayor was speaking moments after Cameron promised he would defend Britain’s interests at the European Council summit in Brussels, where the EU member states will discuss a fiscal co-ordination plan between the 17 eurozone nations.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Johnson said: “If Britain was asked to sign up to such a thing within the 27, it would be right for us either to veto it… If we felt unable to veto it, then certainly it should be put to a referendum.”
When asked if he thought the UK should hold a referendum if a treaty involving all 27 EU states was put forward, Johnson said: “Absolutely. The real problem we have got now is everybody is desperately scrabbling around to try and patch this thing together and to keep the euro in its current form whole and not to let anybody escape, not to let anybody devalue and – to use the rather graphic phrase of someone the other day – I think we are in danger of saving the cancer and not the patient.”
A “managed realignment” that allowed some nations to leave the euro would be a better way forward, Mr Johnson said. He continued: “It is absolutely clear to me that if there is a new treaty at 27, if there is a new EU treaty, that creates a kind of fiscal union within the 27 countries or within the eurozone, we’d have absolutely no choice either to veto it but certainly to put it to a referendum.”
Johnson added: “If they are going to go down that route to fiscal union then certainly I think, frankly, it’s the wrong way to go and I think we should be opposing it.
“If, on the other hand, they decide ‘Look, we can’t do this within the EU, we want to go it alone, the 17 eurozone countries are going to go ahead and create such an economic government’… in that eventuality the UK would not be involved, not be a signatory and you couldn’t reasonably ask for a referendum.”