The international financial crisis has set off a radical change in thinking in Britain about the euro, EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said on Sunday.
While acknowledging the majority opposition in Britain to embracing the euro, Barroso told French radio: “We are now closer than ever before.”
He also said: “I’m not going to break the confidentiality of certain conversations, but some British politicians have already told me: ‘If we had the euro, we would have been better off.’”
Sterling has suffered major falls in the credit crunch which has seen Britain, like other governments, spend massively in recent months to support the banking system.
“The British have an enormous quality, one of many, that is they are pragmatic,” Barroso said on an RTL radio/LCI television broadcast.
“This crisis has emphasized the importance of the euro, in Britain as well,” he said.
“I don’t mean this will happen tomorrow, I know that the majority [of British people] are still opposed, but there is a period of consideration underway and the people who matter in Britain are currently thinking about it,” the former Portuguese prime minister said.
Barroso pointed to the case of Denmark, another EU state which has so far refused to accept the euro but is considering holding a new referendum on the single currency.
The Danish voted against joining in 2000.