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ECONOMICS > UK says eurozone is facing moment of truth

LONDON - Reuters

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UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (R) and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde arrive for a news conference in London. REUTERS photo

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (R) and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde arrive for a news conference in London. REUTERS photo

The eurozone debt crisis is “killing off” Britain’s fragile economic recovery and European leaders are close to the “moment of truth” after more than two years of uncertainty, British finance minister George Osborne wrote in a newspaper article.

Osborne said decisions taken by the currency bloc in the coming months could determine the economic future of the whole of Europe for the next decade and beyond.

As eurozone finance ministers agreed to lend Spain up to 100 billion euros to prop up its banks, Osborne said there were “already signs that a solution will be found” to the debt crisis. “Our recovery - already facing powerful headwinds from high oil prices and the debt burden left behind by the boom years - is being killed off by the crisis on our doorstep,” Osborne wrote in the article published on the Sunday Telegraph’s website over the weekend.

Britain has benefited along with the United States and Germany from investors seeking a safe haven from the eurozone’s troubles, driving down UK borrowing costs, he added. However, the uncertainty in Europe, Britain’s biggest trading partner, has stifled business investment and choked its recovery, he wrote.

Crucial decisions
“We are approaching a moment of truth for the eurozone. After more than two years of uncertainty, instability and slow growth, decisions taken over the next few months could determine the economic future of the whole European continent for the next decade and beyond.”

Britain’s economy has fallen into its second recession since the financial crisis after a shock contraction at the start of 2012, heaping pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government. “A resolution of the eurozone crisis would do more than anything else to give our economy a boost,” Osborne wrote. The euro zone must follow the “remorseless logic” of moving towards much greater fiscal integration, he added.

June/11/2012

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