Cameron and Merkel in euro meeting

First published in Business Daily

© Press Association 2011

DAVID Cameron is to press Germany for speedy action to deal with the crisis in the eurozone as he flies to Berlin for talks with chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ms Merkel is coming under growing pressure to put German taxpayers' money behind measures such as "eurobonds" which would spread the burden of debt from ailing economies such as Greece among the 17 single currency members.

Mr Cameron is expected to tell her that he and US president Barack Obama are agreed that an "immediate plan" is needed to save the eurozone. on Wednesday night he warned that "speed is of the essence" if jobs, opportunities and growth are not to be lost.

However, he will also be wary of being seen to lecture euro members from a position outside the single currency. He has cautioned against holding Germany solely responsible for delays in dealing with the long-running debt crisis.

"I don't think it's right to try to lay all the responsibility on one person. It is everyone in the eurozone and throughout the EU," said Mr Cameron, during a visit to Norway on Wednesday night. "We all need to do the right things to help ease this crisis."

With the re-run Greek election on June 17 followed by crucial summits of the G20 in Mexico and the European Council in Brussels, pressure is on for concrete action by the end of this month.

Mr Cameron has been calling for some months for "decisive" action from eurozone members to stand behind their currency and he will be bolstered in the latest talks by the outcome of Tuesday's phone call with Mr Obama.

Downing Street said that the Prime Minister and US President "agreed on the need for an immediate plan to tackle the crisis and to restore market confidence, as well as a longer-term strategy to secure a strong single currency".

Mr Cameron was travelling from Oslo to Berlin with his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg. They will join Ms Merkel at a "town hall meeting" where they will answer questions from German, British and Norwegian students before Mr Cameron and the German chancellor hold bilateral talks.

No breakthroughs are expected in the talks, which are being seen as paving the way for progress once the Greek elections are out of the way. But speaking in Oslo, Mr Cameron said: "Speed is of the essence. Every day that the European economies are stagnant are days when opportunities are lost, wealth is lost, jobs can be lost."

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