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Byline: Geoff Meade ; Gavin Cordon

DAVID Cameron says he has safeguarded Britain's position in Europe as EU leaders extended a lifeline to Spain's tottering banks.

At the end of two days of fraught negotiations in Brussels, the Prime Minister said he had ensured that the UK would not be drawn into a planned "banking union" while securing explicit safeguards for the single market.

He also hailed a deal struck by the 17 eurozone members in the early hours of yesterday morning which will enable cash from EU bailout funds to be channelled directly to struggling banks without adding to government debt.

"For the first time in some time we have seen steps taken that I think the markets will see are trying to get ahead of the game," he said.

"They need to be followed through, and I hope there won't be a lot of quibbling and worrying about 'is it too far' and the rest of it. If they want to save their currency they have got to get on and do it."

Describing himself a "practical Eurosceptic", he said the important concessions that he had won on banking union, on the single market, and on the new European patent court showed Britain could stand "proud and tall" in Europe.

I am actually confident that Britain - fighting, standing up for itself in Europe - can secure good deals in Europe," he said.

"We need to safeguard what we do want in Europe and I am confident that we can do that. We should be standing proud and tall in Europe."

Mr Cameron said he fought in the negotiations to remove language implying banking union could be extended to all 27 member states - ensuring British banks would continue to be regulated by the Bank of England.

He won an agreement that the part of the new European patent court covering pharmaceuticals would be based in London, bringing "millions of pounds and hundreds of jobs".

Officials also revealed that Mr Cameron and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso had worked together on summit declaration language designed to emphasise that the smooth-running of the 27-nation single market would not be compromised by new 17-nation rules for the running of the single currency.

Earlier, financial markets rose after the surprise news that the eurozone leaders had struck an overnight deal to shore up banks in Spain and other weaker nations.

The agreement came after Italian Prime Minis-ter Mario Monti and Spain's Mariano Rajoy faced down Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel in a tense summit meeting.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Jun 30, 2012
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