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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
The great euro debate
Euro debate
For and against - Britain's euro debate
The Danish people have rejected the euro, but how do British groups who are campaigning on the issue see the decision?

The political parties

The Labour Party Labour is committed to a referendum on the issue of joining the euro, but only when five economic tests have been met. The government has repeatedly faced accusations that it is failing to provide leadership on the euro debate.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said : "The vote last night does not alter in any way the fundamental fact that the eurozone contains 250 million people who provide the market for the majority of our exports, and that there are 5,000 American and Japanese companies who invest here because they want to export to that market."

The government says that if and when there is a referendum it will actively campaign for the euro.

The Conservative Party The Tories have a harder line against the euro. They have committed their party to "keep the pound" at least for the next parliament.

Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo said: "The only arguments really made in favour about going in were that we should be fearful... of being isolated. Well, of course we are not now isolated, other people in Europe have taken the same view.

"The other argument was that it was somehow inevitable that we would go into the euro, well it clearly isn't inevitable, it is within the capability of the British people... to vote no if they are offered that chance in a referendum."

The Liberal Democrats The only main political party in the UK which is unequivocally in favour of the single currency. The Lib Dems believe the five economic tests laid out by Labour have largely been met.

Foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell said: "This decision will have no significance for companies which rely on exports to Europe or for Britain's ability to attract inward investment.

"It is high time that the British Government as a whole began to argue the case for British membership of the single currency."

United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) A minority party with three MEPs which advocates total withdrawal from the European Union.

UKIP leader and MEP Jeffrey Titford said: "I believe the people of Denmark realised that we are not just talking about a change in currency - there are political implications of joining as well."

Pro-Euro Conservative Party Small party set up by pro-european Conservative then-MEPs.

Their spokesman said the decision "makes it more difficult for the government to have a referendum" but he added that the economic issues in Britain were markedly different from those in Denmark.

Pressure groups

Britain in Europe Describes itself as "an historic all-party coalition" which was set up to explain the benefits of EU membership and entry into the euro once the economic conditions are right.

A spokeswoman said: "Denmark is a small country and very different from Britain. Their referendum is irrelevant to the debate here."

She added that the decision would not affect the impact of the high pound against the euro on UK manufacturing.

Business for Sterling Part of the No Campaign which includes Lord Owen's New Europe group which opposes the single currency.

Nick Herbert, chief executive of Business for Sterling, said: "This sends the clearest possible signal to the British Government.

"If the euro can be rejected by a small country like Denmark, which has close economic ties with euroland, then the euro lobby must realise that it will be rejected by Britain.

"We have the fourth largest economy in the world, a powerful campaign against the euro and much stronger public opposition".

The CBI The Confederation of British Industry's members are split on the euro - not just about whether to go in but when and in what circumstances.

A CBI spokeswoman said it did not wish to comment on what was essentially a political decision in Denmark.

The Federation of Small Businesses Again the federation's membership is split. Six out of 10 members are against joining the euro but 70% do not want to rule it out entirely.

A spokesman said the Danish decision should further resolve the government's position to stay out until the economic conditions were right. He added that his membership were concerned about the costs of joining the euro.


AEEU The engineering union AEEU is strongly pro-european, with its leader Ken Jackson playing a key role in both Britain in Europe and Trade Unions for Europe groups.

Mr Jackson told BBC News Online that the Danish decision was a setback for Danish pro-europeans but that the euro had different implications for the UK.

"The bottom line is that being inside the euro is better for job creation."

TGWU The Transport and General Workers' Union wants a referendum to be held once the government's five economic tests are met. They have tended to be more suspicious of joining.

General Secretary Bill Morris told the TUC annual conference earlier this month: "The British people cannot be bullied and cannot be bounced. There is no majority for the euro - because we have a strong economy and a stable economy."

What the papers say

The Sun One of the most vocally anti-euro newspapers.

Its editorial on Friday said: "The euro means handing our lives, our futures, our very body politic to an undemocratic and corrupt bunch of left-wing pen-pushers in Belgium.

"Every one of them [the Danes] has stuck up a massive two fingers at Brussels."

The Financial Times The FT is one of the few British papers to take a pro-euro line.

Friday's FT editorial said: "Britain should be in; but the Danish No vote suggests that without a vigorous and imaginative campaign, the eurosceptics may win by default. Mr Blair cannot afford to dally."

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