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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Franco-German leaders praise Brown
Jacques Chirac (l) with Gerhard Schroeder
France and Germany put positive spin on UK decision
The French and German leaders have praised the "pro-European" stance of UK Chancellor Gordon Brown over the euro.

At a meeting in Berlin, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder both gave positive assessments of Mr Brown's "not yet" decision on the euro.

Mr Brown said on Monday that the UK had passed only one of the five economic tests he had set, but also sought to make clear his overall support for British membership.

The BBC's Ray Furlong in Berlin says the French and German leaders sought to put a positive spin on Mr Brown's speech.

There were many who expected a more negative decision
Gerhard Schroeder
German Chancellor

Mr Schroeder saw a "clear pro-European signal" in the UK Government's willingness to reconsider its position next year.

London had shown it wanted to be "fully involved", he said.

"There were many who expected a more negative decision," Mr Schroeder said.

"I believe Britain has made clear its will and wish to be fully involved, in that the decision not to call a referendum today was linked to the perspective for next year.

We would like England to join the euro, but of course we have no intention of pushing it
Jacques Chirac
French President
"I see that as a clearly pro-European signal."

Mr Chirac said Mr Brown had used friendly and clear words.

"We would like England to join the euro, but of course we have no intention of pushing it," Mr Chirac told reporters.

Mr Blair, he said, set out the decision "in clear terms - that, for England, this is not a refusal to join the euro but a decision to wait for changes, notably economic ones, that will let it do so in a more natural and efficient way."

The Greek Finance Minister, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, said he was confident that the UK would "do its best" to join the euro area when economic conditions allowed.

Among the 15 member countries of the European Union, only Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom remain outside the single currency, and Sweden is due to hold a referendum on joining later this year.

Constitution

The French and German leaders also used Tuesday's talks in Berlin to call for the draft European constitution to be accepted as the basis for a future treaty at the EU summit later this month.

Mr Schroeder said France and Germany were "determined to support this (draft) constitution without reservation."

There was a "good chance" of reaching an agreement at at the EU summit in Thessaloniki on 20-21 June, he added.


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