Blair: Germany must underwrite eurozone debts

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Saturday that the euro will only survive if Germany underwrites the debts of the eurozone's financially struggling members.

He told BBC television that safeguarding the euro would need Berlin to "treat the debts of one as the debts of all," and debt-wracked nations to carry out reforms which would help restore Europe to competitiveness.

"The only thing that will save the single currency now is in a sense a sort of grand plan in which Germany is prepared to commit its economy fully to the single currency," said Blair, who left office and stood down as leader of Britain's Labour Party in 2007.

"That means treating the debts of one as the debts of all, which is very hard for Germany to do," he said. "It means the other countries in the eurozone need to reform, need precise credible programs of change to reform, so that Europe can regain its competitiveness."

Blair, who is currently envoy to the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers, also insisted that Britain could still choose to join the euro — despite the crisis.

"If they sort it all out and Europe moves forward again then Britain is going to have a very interesting choice to make," said Blair, who has long been an advocate of Britain taking a more active role in Europe.

Prime Minister David Cameron, of the rival Conservative Party, has vowed that Britain won't join the euro during his tenure.

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