» Thursday, October 13, 2005

EU Economy

Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with the Chancellor’s comments on the EU economy, the PMOS said the Prime Minister had set out his view of the weaknesses of the European economy and what we had to do to respond to globalisation in the June speech to the EU Parliament. That analysis had been touched upon by what the Chancellor had said. What was important now was to address the issues.

Put to the PMOS that the Chancellor had said that France was in recession, when in fact it had not been in recession since 1993, the PMOS said that the people who were best able to debate the precise meaning of the word "recession" were in the Treasury, as he was not an economist, and they were the experts.

Put to the PMOS that Peter Mandelson thought that getting a deal on the EU budget was very urgent, and had the Government had any chance to work towards an agreement, the PMOS referred people back to what the Prime Minister had said in Paris. The Prime Minister said that we did want to work towards a future financing deal, but it would be at the December budget, rather than at the informal summit at Hampton Court which was looking at the broader issue of how we responded to globalisation. The reality was that the German Government was still being formed, which was one of the factors which would influence the timing. The PMOS said that as for calling the odds on it, he was "too long in the tooth for that"!

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Search for related news

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