Support for a "strong pro-European consensus" will grow in the UK, Gordon Brown has claimed.
Speaking in Scotland, the chancellor said the government was seeking to build a future where Britain was "engaged and leading" in Europe.
In the fevered atmosphere at Westminster - even with MPs on a parliamentary break - his comments will be seen as an attempt to dampen speculation of a rift with Tony Blair over the impending decision over the euro.
Mr Brown refused to be drawn on the debate over the currency, simply repeating his mantra that the test of UK membership was whether it is in the national economic interest.
We wish to build for the future engaged and leading in Europe
But he did again stress the need for economic reform in the European Union.
Using the first anniversary of the first ferry link between Scotland and the continent as a symbol of European unity, Mr Brown said it made "economic sense to build a strong pro-European consensus" in the UK.
"We wish to build for the future engaged and leading in Europe," he said at the opening of a new ferry terminal at Rosyth on the Firth of Forth.
"Sixty-five per cent of Scottish exports go the EU. More than half of
Britain's trade is with Europe.
"So it is not simply for reasons of history and geography, but for good
economic sense to build a strong pro-European consensus in Britain."
'Widen and deepen'
He said that consensus would support EU enlargement, stronger trading links with the rest of the world and a recognition that the test for euro membership must be based on the Treasury's five economic tests.
"I believe that this pro-European consensus can widen and deepen in the times
to come," he added.
The comments come after Mr Blair said he believed the UK was more in favour of closer European ties than opinion polls suggested.