Is England's position on the Euro shifting? That was the question raised Monday after Europe's top official suggested that "the people who matter" were having second thoughts about Britain's long-held opposition to single currency membership.
The office of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was quick to deny the idea that the government's position had changed.
"We have no plans to join the Euro," a Brown spokesman said Monday.
However, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission told French radio that the U.K. is "closer than ever before" to entering the single currency, because of the fallout from the global financial crisis.
He said that "people who matter in Britain are currently thinking about" membership, adding that the country was sufficiently pragmatic to drop its traditional hostility to the currency if there was a strong economic case.
"I'm not going to break the confidentiality of certain conversations, but some British politicians have already told me: 'If we had the Euro, we would have been better off'," Barroso said in an interview.