Chancellor George Osborne is moving to block any attempt to use British taxpayers’ money as part of the Greek bailout, Treasury sources have announced.
The chancellor has apparently said he will block any move by the EU to use UK taxpayers’ money as part of Greece's €12bn (£8.5bn) bridging loan.
Osborne is reported to have told fellow finance ministers that ignoring a 2010 agreement and using the EU budget as collateral against loans for Athens was a “non-starter”.
The Press Association quoted a Treasury source saying:
Our Eurozone colleagues have received the message loud and clear that it would not be acceptable for this issue of British support for Eurozone bailouts to be revisited.
Finance ministers from all 28 EU countries are set to meet in Brussels later today, with Osborne expected to tell his counterparts that using British money is unacceptable.
However, using the EU budget would breach an agreement that the EU-wide emergency fund would not be used for underwriting bailouts.
In 2010 when the agreement was made, Prime Minister David Cameron said he had won a “clear and unanimous agreement” that the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism would not be used for further economic bailouts, as it had been to help Ireland and Portugal. Responsibility was expected to fall on member states of the single currency.
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"Leaders from across the EU agreed in 2010 that the EFSM would not be used again for those in the euro area, and that remains the Prime Minister's view,” a Number 10 spokesman said.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said:
Taxpayers in the UK will rightly welcome the chancellor's assurances. At a time when we're trying to fix our own public finances, every penny spent abroad is a penny we can't use to deliver front-line services here.