The British government doesn’t understand what the IMF is saying, and doesn’t care about what the EU is saying.
Mr. Clark on Tuesday appeared puzzled by the IMF’s criticism, saying the U.K.’s program is in line with the fund’s view that the deficit should be reduced by about 1% of GDP each year, while the pace of that adjustment can be altered if the economy weakens.
“I think we have shown flexibility,” Mr. Clark said. “In terms of [the IMF’s] overall view of the importance of fiscal consolidation and the pace that they recommend around the world, we are broadly in line with it….”
Mr. Clark said that despite these disagreements European officials recognize London’s importance to the EU as a whole. Some of the EU’s proposals have lacked clarity and precision, he added.
If the U.K. opposes European financial rules, it is because it fears they could imperil the competitiveness of London and the EU as centers of global financial activity at a time when they are facing challenges from up-and-coming rivals in the Middle and Far East, Mr. Clark said.