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nzherald: UK Chancellor hits out at Europe over protectionism

UK Chancellor Gordon Brown has launched an outspoken attack on the rising tide of protectionism across Europe, accusing its governments of blocking cross-border takeovers for reasons of economic patriotism.

The Chancellor also urged EU partners to accept the need for steeper cuts in farm subsidies as the way to strike a new deal on world trade that would deliver £300 billion ($888 billion) of economic growth.

Both issues will be centre stage at meetings of EU finance ministers this week and of the G8 rich nations at the weekend.

Speaking to business leaders at a CBI dinner, Mr Brown said there had been a backlash against globalisation across Europe.

"In the last few months - as talk of national champions rather than global companies resurfaces - we have seen France block Italian takeovers, Italy block Dutch banking takeovers, Spain block German energy bids and Poland block Italian financial service bids," he said.

He said there was a "danger of a relapse into protectionism ... and economic patriotism" in Europe and Latin America.

"What we must do is win the argument that is raging throughout the world showing that embracing globalisation, not retreating into protectionism, is the best way to growth jobs and prosperity for all.

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:18:31 AM EST
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