Meltdown in Eurozone Is Our 'Worst Crisis since the 1930s' WARNINGS THAT UK ECONOMY IS UNDER SEVERE THREAT

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WILLIAMSON

EUROPE is threatened by the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s and Britain cannot stand on the sidelines, former Welsh MEP Wayne David warned yesterday.

The Caerphilly Labour MP, who is an ex-leader of the Labour group in the European Parliament, said there is now no possibility of Britain joining the euro but he warned that an economic crisis among member countries would have grave consequences for the UK.

His comments came as European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso warned that the potential meltdown of the eurozone was "the most serious challenge of a generation".

Speaking as the threat of a Greek debt default spread fear through European capitals, Mr David, who is now Labour's Shadow Europe Minister, said: "We are on a verge of a crisis as great as what hit the world in the 1930s."

He called on Germany to show greater leadership and for the UK to offer stronger moral support.

His concern was shared by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls who warned of a "massive economic catastrophe" on a larger scale than the banking crash in 2008.

He said: "I think we are heading for a catastrophe here. I think it is clear that political leadership in Europe is woefully lacking.

"The issue now isn't really Greece, it is what is happening in Spain and in particular Italy. The lack of clarity as to whether the eurozone will stand by Italy is now unbelievably dangerous and we are seeing that reflected in what is happening in French banking shares.

"That will impact on Britain as well. This could be much more serious than three years ago.

"I think unless the German government in particular stands behind the European Central Bank - which is now being clear that they will back Italy and stand behind Italian debt - we could be in for a massive economic catastrophe.

"It is hard to overestimate how serious this is."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg dismissed suggestions - rife on the Tory backbenches - that Britain should take the opportunity presented by the crisis in the eurozone to renegotiate its relations with the EU through new treaties. …