Despite the ongoing crisis with euro zone debt, the United Kingdom could still join the euro, said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Speaking to BBC, Blair said he disagreed with those who claim that adopting the euro currency would be disastrous – the current Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be a dreadful idea for the UK to join.
However, Blair conceded there had to be a powerful economic case for such an event to occur.
Blair added that he thinks the euro zone will fix its existing problem and that Britain would likely join the currency bloc at some point in the future.
Blair indicated that when he occupied No. 10 Downing Street, he supported the idea of Britain joining the euro. At that time, Gordon Brown, who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, drew up five economic conditions that would have to be satisfied for the UK to adopt the euro.
I agreed with the five tests and I agreed with his decision,” Blair told BBC.
“I was always absolutely in favor of doing it politically and still am. I've always said though, since it's an economic union, the economics have got to be right. Now I don't actually take the view that some people take, that Britain joining the euro, in the past or now, will be a disaster. However I always said, unless you can make a compelling case for it economically you were never going to win a referendum on it.”
Blair added: And the case for Britain joining isn't compelling. Now it may become that at a certain point.
Cameron would appear to be unconvinced by Blair’s comments.
Attending an EU summit in Brussels, Cameron told reporters: Britain is out of the euro - I think we will stay out of the euro and certainly as long as I am doing this job there is no prospect of Britain even contemplating joining the euro.
Similarly, Jack Straw, who served various posts under Blair, has recently warned that the euro zone would collapse.
Since the euro, in its current form, is going to collapse, is it not better that this happens quickly rather than a slow death?, he said.
Blair countered the euro zone’s current problems are fundamental and structural, but could eventually be resolved.
If people are retiring in their 50s on large salaries in the public sector, in circumstances where, in the end, you know, life has changed, demography has changed, people are living longer and so on - at some point you've got to reform, he said.
Blair also contradicted Straw’s assertion that the euro will vanish.
For Europe, no I don't think they're going to give up the single currency. Now that's not to say there aren't huge issues to do with how you get through the next months, Blair added.