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Friday, 7 July, 2000, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
Cook: Euro entry 'inevitable'

Robin Cook: "Joining the euro is inevitable"
The Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has been reported as saying the UK's entry into the euro is "inevitable".

And the head of the European Central Bank added to the debate by saying the UK had satisfied all the economic criteria to join, and was suffering by not doing so.

Mr Cook's remarks follow the prime minister saying he would be able to recommend UK entry into the single currency early in the next Parliament. He based his prediction on current economic trends.

The Conservatives say the foreign secretary's remarks amount to a humiliation for the chancellor, who stresses membership is not inevitable and rests on his five economic tests for entry being met.

Britain's choice

ECB chief Wim Duisenberg told Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore business daily: "Great Britain satisfies all the conditions to enter, except that foreseen for exchange rates.

"The performance of the British economy is admirable but it is suffering a great deal by not participating in the euro. That said, the decision (on joining) is one to be taken by the British people," he added.

Mr Duisenberg's comments follow a week of controversy over Britain's membership in the euro, with some foreign multinationals saying they will reduce future investment in the UK if there is no clear signal on the euro.

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