BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron has been involved in a furious row with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said he was sick of the UK offering advice on the euro, Sky News reported today.
Cameron reportedly clashed with Sarkozy during a six-hour European Union (EU) summit in Brussels as leaders sought to hammer out a solution to the problems gripping the single currency.
The row erupted after the French president tried to insist that a follow-up meeting Wednesday should be restricted to the 17 eurozone leaders. The eurozone is made up of those EU members that have adopted the euro as their common currency and sole legal tender. Britain is not one of them.
At one point in the exchanges, Sarkozy was quoted as telling Cameron, “We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings.”
Cameron managed to ensure that all 27 EU member states would attend Wednesday’s meeting.
The decision to hold a further summit this week means Cameron has had to call off visits to Japan and New Zealand ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia.
According to EU officials, Sarkozy complained that he was tired of reading in the newspapers about advice Cameron and his treasury chief were offering the eurozone.
At an end-of-summit press conference, Cameron urged the eurozone leaders to take responsibility for delivering a credible response to restore market confidence in the single currency.
He said the crisis was having a “chilling effect” on all 27 EU economies, adding, “While the UK is not in the eurozone and has no intention of joining, it is in Britain’s interest to have a strong and healthy euro.”
The clash with Sarkozy came as a precursor to further trouble for Cameron, who will Monday face open rebellion from more than a fifth of his Conservative Party lawmakers amid clear signs that party support for his stance on Europe is draining away, The (London) Times reported.
Sixty-eight lawmakers have openly pledged to support a motion calling for a referendum or renegotiation of Britain’s position in Europe, which will be put to a symbolic vote, despite the prime minister putting out a strict instruction to reject it.
The vote comes as 64 percent of respondents to a survey for the website Conservative Home said they did not believe Cameron was “very committed to repatriating any powers from the European Union,” despite his promise to the contrary.