The Alliance Party has said that despite the eurozone crisis, Britain should still join the euro — but not immediately.
The party, which launched its manifesto in Beflast’s Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) yesterday, said that it still supported the principle of a sing le Europe-wide currency.
However, it said that it would only support UK entry into the euro if five conditions are met, including a public referendum on the issue.
The party’s manifesto said of those tests: “We do not believe that this will happen in the next European Parliamentary term and will make no effort to pursue it during the lifetime of this European mandate.”
When asked by the News Letter whether such an approach was wise in light of the recent financial turmoil in the eurozone, Alliance European election candidate Anna Lo said: “At the moment, we don’t see any benefits of us joining the euro but if things improved, we certainly would be in favour of joining the euro.”
However, she insisted that eventually joining the single currency would be beneficial, citing the current need for currency conversions across non-euro nations and said that it would also make trade easier.
Ms Lo was also asked about her recent controversial comments about her aspiration for a united Ireland.
The South Belfast MLA said that she had made clear that it could only happen “under the right conditions”.
When asked what she meant when she said that the Province would be better off “economically, socially and politically” if the border was removed, she said: “I think if, under the right conditions, working as a whole on the island of Ireland, would be economically better off in terms of, for example, when we look at tourism and trade, there are many benefits of working together...it would bring down costs and it’s the benefits of the bigger value [from] more people on the one island trading and exporting as one.
“Agriculture in Ireland, obviously, is more important than agriculture in England...”
However, she stressed of her desire for a united Ireland: “That’s a very, very long-term aspiration I have. What motivated me into politics was more working here and now, working to promote a shared future for Northern Ireland; a shared society in Northern Ireland.”
And, asked whether this would be her last election and she would stand down at the next Assembly election, she said: “We don’t know yet.”
• To see a video of Anna Lo speaking to the News Letter, visit www.newsletter.co.uk