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15.11.11

Opportunity to renegotiate EU membership

The eurozone crisis provides an ‘opportunity’ for the UK to reclaim powers from the EU, Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested.

In a speech on foreign policy in London, Cameron stated that this represents a chance to renegotiate the UK’s membership, although he maintains his position that the country should not leave the EU.

He said: “We have a right to ask what the European Union should and should not do and change it accordingly. As I said, change brings opportunities. An opportunity to begin to refashion the EU so it better serves this nation’s interests and the interests of its other 26 nations.

“An opportunity, in Britain's case, for powers to ebb back instead of flow away and for the European Union to focus on what really matters to underpin prosperity, stability and growth. That is the kind of fundamental reform I yearn for.”

Cameron has recently been under pressure to modify the UK’s membership, and last month 81 Conservatives rebelled against Government policy by calling for a referendum on the subject of EU membership.

But Cameron said: “Leaving the EU is not in our national interest. Outside, we would end up like Norway, subject to every rule for the single market made in Brussels but unable to shape those rules.

“Believe me, if we weren’t in there helping write the rules they would be written without us – the biggest supporter of open markets and free trade – and we would not like the outcome.”

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