Blair quickens pace towards euro

The British government of Tony Blair is pushing for a referendum on adoption of the single European currency before the next general election in 2005.


    Will Britain buy into the euro?


    United Kingdom Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, a euro supporter, met Blair and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown last week to discuss scrapping the pound. 


    Brown is due to deliver the British Treasury's decision on whether it is right for the UK economy to go for the euro. 


    However, there are differences between Blair and Brown on the issue. While the British premier is all for adopting the euro next year, the chancellor is in favour of continuing with the pound for the duration of this Parliament and changing only after the general election. 


    But the latest indications are that Blair has convinced Brown not to put off a referendum until after the next election. 


    Crucial decision


    According to media reports, Blair is even in favour of stretching the general election expected by spring of 2005 to 2006 if it helps him adopt the euro in his term. 


    The D-day is 9 June when the chancellor is scheduled to publish his economic assessment. 


    But polls on the euro issue suggest that Blair will have a tough time convincing his countrymen to give up the pound.


    One poll reportedly commissioned by the British bank Barclays Plc showed that 46% were against adopting the euro while 37% were in favour.


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