Britain will 'obviously' join euro says Mandelson
Britain "obviously" remains committed to joining the euro following the currency's "success" in helping its members to weather the economic crisis, Lord Mandelson said.
By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Published: 4:13PM BST 11 Jun 2009
The newly promoted First Secretary of State, speaking in Berlin, hailed the euro as a saviour that had brought stability to the European Union during financial turmoil.
"It is perfectly clear that the euro has been a great success in anchoring its eurozone members during this financial crisis," he said.
"Imagine where all of us would have been if it hadn't. I hope people will recognise that this represents a major vindication for the single currency."
Asked if the British Government would consider joining the euro, Lord Mandelson replied: "Does it remain an important objective for Britain to find itself in the same currency as that single market in which it interacts? Obviously yes."
He added: "That has to be a decision taken on the right terms in the right circumstances and conditions and therefore at a future time than we have now."
The Conservatives accused Lord Mandelson of trying to bounce Britain into the single currency. "It is deeply disturbing that the man who now makes most of the government's policies has declared that Britain should join the euro," said William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary.
Mr Hague rejected the argument that the euro could have sheltered the British economy and pointed to the total loss of control over monetary policy that is required for membership. "The fact is that if we had scrapped the pound interest rates would have been lower in the boom and would now be higher. Under the euro, Gordon Brown's boom and bust would have been even deeper," he said.
"Lord Mandelson's failure to learn this obvious lesson shows how bereft Labour are of fresh thinking."