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06/12/2016

‘Europe isn’t working’ says Cameron

UK & Europe

‘Europe isn’t working’ says Cameron

David Cameron visiting the McLaren factory.

[Department for Business, Innovation and Skills/Flickr]

Speaking to BuzzFeed, Cameron admitted any future negotiations would be “tough”, but maintained his stance that a continuation of the status quo was “not an option”.

The EU “isn’t working properly” and too many people are happy to “go on as they are”, Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday (16 March).

“Europe isn’t working properly. You can see that by the fact that Britain, outside the euro, has created more jobs in the last five years than the other 27 put together,” said Cameron. “Rather than burying this under the carpet, let’s work out what needs to change. “

>>Read: Juncker says EU needs Britain, but can’t change basic treaty

Speaking earlier in the interview about migration, Cameron reiterated his desire to restrict access to benefits to new migrants. But when questioned about the EU, he made no mention of the issue.

Instead, he said, the UK wanted a commitment to ever closer union, contained in the introduction to the Lisbon Treaty “written out of our part of the treaty” and were also seeking assurances on the single market.

“I’m clear that if countries in the eurozone want to integrate more, fine, they can. We are not joining the euro. We need some guarantees about how the single market will work and that we are not going to be dominated by eurozone countries making up the rules. “

Despite Sunday’s warning from European Council President Donald Tusk that Cameron’s renegotiation plans “mission impossible”, the prime minister said, “I think we are quiet capable of getting them.”

He did suggest there might be “a big sigh of relief” across the EU if Labour’s Ed Miliband and not Cameron were elected to Downing Street on 7 May, but said a politician’s job was not to seek the path of least resistance.

>>Read: The UK’s relationship with Europe is too complex to be settled by a simple ‘in/out’ referendum

David Cameron has promised a renegotiation of the terms of the UK’s membership ahead of an in/out referendum by 2017 if he wins the general election in May. Labour have said they will only hold a referendum in the event of a significant transfer of powers from London to Brussels.

Speaking to ITV this morning, Cameron said the chances of a referendum this year were “pretty slim”

Yesterday, Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader, said that his party would do a deal to allow Cameron to form a government if, as expected, the election fails to produce a clear winner. But Farage said the price of such a deal would be a referendum before the end of the year.

“The sooner that (EU) renegotiation can get done, the better. But frankly the chances of doing that inside 2015, after an election in May, are pretty slim,” Cameron said.

Background

The 7 May UK general election will go a long way towards deciding whether Britain will stay in the European Union, or choose to leave, after forty years of uneasy relations.

A surge in Eurosceptism has firmly pushed the European Union onto the political agenda in Britain.

The ruling Conservatives have promised an in/out referendum on EU membership before the end of 2017 if they win the election, placing Europe's future at the centre of the debate.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would campaign for the UK to stay, but only if the EU was able to reform, saying “Britain’s national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union."

>> Read: Voting on Brexit: The EU issues shaping the UK election

Further Reading