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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 22:26 GMT 23:26 UK
Press concerned at UK Euro decision
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
Blair spotlighted over euro debate

European papers see the UK's decision to buy time on the euro poll as a reflection of the political dilemma facing Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Some commentators feel that the British will be carrying the pound in their pockets for some time to come. One of Germany's leading dailies considers Europe without a fully integrated Britain incomplete. And two papers note the powerful link between the British pound and the monarchy.

Time will tell if Tony Blair one day succeeds in organising a referendum on the euro, and especially winning it. In the meantime, the postponement of this date is a serious defeat for him. Because it is he himself - filled with a sense of history - who raised the stakes as high as possible by making the euro "the greatest challenge for this generation".

Le Monde - France

However many economic tests they set, Mr Blair knows that London will not be at the 'heart of Europe' while it remains outside the euro. And at the moment, it looks like a long haul.

El Pais - Spain

If Tony Blair really wants to be remembered in history books as the prime minister who led Britain into the euro zone, he will have to win a few more elections... The euro debate is mainly about politics.

Der Standard - Austria

[UK Chancellor] Gordon Brown claimed that his decision was EU-positive and represented a 'black day' for all anti-Europeans. This is difficult to see. The point is rather that Tony Blair is a man who wants to avoid steering straight into a huge political defeat...Thus postponement was Mr Blair's only option.

Information - Denmark

Mr Blair and Mr Brown have won a year's grace, but sooner or later the British will find themselves heading towards a decision on whether they are to keep one of the last symbols of empire or whether they will opt for a currency that will open the doors to Europe for their economy.

El Mundo - Spain

The Brits and the euro - it's like 'Waiting for Godot'. Fear of anything new is counterbalanced by the hidden anxiety about possibly missing out. Like in 'Waiting for Godot', each person can interpret the play as he likes. So yesterday, both eurosceptics and europhiles were able to feel they had edged a little closer to the fulfilment of their dreams.

Der Tagesspiegel - Germany

If Gordon Brown thinks the economic convergence between Great Britain and the euro zone is insufficient, one may wonder why, as chancellor, he has not done anything about it.

France Inter radio

In the long term, the single currency is neither conceivable nor desirable without Britain... Neither the venerable pound nor the euro deserve to be used to score points in domestic political quarrels.

Die Welt - Germany

Britain's refusal of the euro must not be seen as a defeat for Europe. The UK has played a good role as a factor of equilibrium between the Franco-German axis and the rest of the continent.

La Razon - Spain

The UK government doesn't dare set out a timetable for a referendum on joining the euro zone. It knows that the people would say 'no'. For many British people, getting rid of the pound is almost the same as getting rid of the monarchy.

Helsinki Hufvudstadsbladet - Finland

The cabinet simply could not decide otherwise when Her Majesty, whose image graces British banknotes and coins, is marking the 50th anniversary of her coronation. Let us view this verdict as the embodiment of that subtle tact which for centuries has distinguished British gentlemen and which has always facilitated, rather than hindered, the choice of the correct alternative. Now and forever more: God save the Queen!

Nezavisimaya Gazeta - Russia

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Q&A: What now in euro saga?
10 Jun 03  |  Politics

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