MARSEILLE - Europe could agree to broad changes to existing legislation within a year or two that would pave the way for greater fiscal integration of members of the euro zone, British finance minister George Osborne said.
But he stressed that Britain would insist on protecting its interests in any new treaty, and that he did not want decisions on European policy to be dominated by a closed shop of euro zone members.
Osborne has long argued that members of the single currency should pursue the "remorseless logic" of monetary union with fiscal union. His interest is in shoring up Britain's major trading markets, not in having any closer involvement in the bloc itself. If anything, London is becoming more disengaged.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Saturday he would like to repatriate more powers from the European Union but that the presence of the centrist Liberal Democrats in Britain's coalition government had thwarted him.