Despite opposition from his government, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is determined to take his country into the euro zone by 2007.
In order to secure this ambition, Blair wants the government to make a public pledge that the Great Britain will join the common monetary union. According to the London-based Independent, Blair intends to call for the referendum soon after the country’s next general election, which is expected to take place in May or June next year. But not all cabinet members endorse the move. In particular, Chancellor Gordon Brown is believed to be strongly against the idea of a public announcement. He is allegedly concerned that such a declaration would prejudge the economic analysis his department is conducting on membership in the euro zone. In June last year, Brown rejected introducing the single currency in the near future, saying that only one of his famous 'five tests' had been met. Since then, the issue has been buried, and most experts regard a referendum in the next few years as unlikely. But Blair’s persistent tactics show that he has not abandoned his goal of cashing in the pound for the euro. Britain, Denmark and Sweden are the only three EU countries that remain outside the single currency zone. (EUobserver.com)