Huge pressure on Brown at EU summit

Pressure on Brown as EU summit kicks off
Pressure on Brown as EU summit kicks off

Gordon Brown is facing severe pressure from all sides as he attends an EU summit in Brussels today.

The trip comes as Germany's finance minister made an unprecedented attack on British economic policy in the pages of Newsweek magazine, calling it "crass".

The statements will make for an interesting meeting between Gordon Brown and German chancellor Angela Merkel today.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne seized on those comments as proof the Conservatives are not alone in worrying about Britain's levels of debt.

His colleague William Hague, shadow foreign secretary, took a different line, criticising the government for not attacking the EU over its approach to the Lisbon treaty.

It appears Ireland is now prepared to hold another referendum on the treaty in exchange for certain guarantees from the EU. Those gurantees are being trashed out in committee rooms within the summit this afternoon.

A draft conclusion seen by media sources indicates Ireland "is committed to seeking ratification" of the Lisbon Treaty by October next year.

Meanwhile, the pounds dropped to a record low against the euro. One euro is now worth 87p.

Bookmakers William Hill have now put odds of 20/1 that the UK will adopt the euro next year. The odds drop to 2/7 for 2014 or later.

"There seems to be an inevitability about the euro replacing the pound eventually - but the big question is when a government will have the nerve to do it," said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Meanwhile, the Taxpayer's Alliance released research today suggesting European directives on renewable energy could cost British families £120 a year.

"Pressing blindly ahead with this scheme will seriously harm the economy and leave pensioners shivering in their beds," said Ruth Lea, director of Global Vision.

The summit will take place over the next two days.


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