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Montevideo, December 3rd 2016 - 15:33 UTC

Cameron at Davos called for a more competitive, open and flexible Europe

Friday, January 25th 2013 - 06:34 UTC
Full article 15 comments
Dutch PM Rutte: “a UK outside the EU would be an island somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and Europe” Dutch PM Rutte: “a UK outside the EU would be an island somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and Europe”
“A centralized political union? Not for me, not for Britain” insisted Cameron “A centralized political union? Not for me, not for Britain” insisted Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted on Thursday he was not turning his back on Europe as the global elite at the annual Davos meeting gave his referendum plans a frosty reception.

Cameron was meeting world leaders and business chiefs at the World Economic Forum in the snowy Swiss ski resort for the first time since a speech on Wednesday revealing plans to let Britons vote on EU membership.

Cameron said urgent reforms were needed to make the EU more competitive but said he wanted Britain to remain in the bloc. “This is not about turning our backs on Europe — quite the opposite,” he said. “It's about how we make the case for a more competitive, open and flexible Europe, and secure the UK's place within it.”

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte indicated the scale of the mountain that Cameron must scale to persuade EU leaders to support his plans to renegotiate Britain's EU membership and then hold a referendum by the end of 2017.

“A UK outside the EU would be an island somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and Europe,” Rutte told the forum.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny took a more conciliatory tone, saying the 27-member bloc would be “stronger if Britain is part of it.”

“Whatever happens, I would like to see that Britain would remain central to the European Union. It's very important in the global sense,” Kenny told the forum.

Foreign policy guru and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger meanwhile said that for Europe the “idea of European unity needs to be resolved” if it was to make a lasting recovery from the three-year Euro zone debt crisis.

But Cameron, whose country does not use the Euro, rejected any call for greater political union, saying: “A centralized political union? Not for me, not for Britain.”

Cameron ducked questions about how he would persuade his European partners to back his plans, saying that he was proposing “not just change for Britain but also change for Europe.”

He rejected suggestions however that uncertainty could deter foreign businesses from investing in Britain and insisted that being “frank and open” would “actually benefit business.”

Cameron said British business leaders — including more than 50 who wrote a letter to the Times newspaper on Thursday — “say that this is a sensible approach.”

His words also chimed with a report by the World Economic Forum published on Thursday which urged the EU to tackle a “competitiveness deficit” to make a lasting recovery from the Euro-zone debt crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Thursday against easing off on painful reforms in Europe, saying the bloc must ensure it took full advantage of its debt crisis to modernize and boost its competitiveness.

“The political experience is that often you need pressure for political structural reforms,” Merkel said during her keynote speech.

“My conclusion is therefore that if Europe is in a difficult situation today, we must implement the structural reforms today so we can live better tomorrow.”

 

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  • willi1

    we could offer the brits what ever they want, at the end they find another point to have been separated for them.
    the whole world already speaks their simple language, more or less well. which languages are they speaking? english, scottish, welsh, australian and others important languages like american.
    it´s an illnes: they still feel like empirealistics as if we would feel to be a forth reich.

    Jan 25th, 2013 - 09:04 am 0
  • Idlehands

    1 willi1

    As you are clearly not British why are you so concerned about whether the UK stays within the EU or not?

    NB As English is a simple language one could assume that even the simple can master it. What is your excuse for the post above?

    Jan 25th, 2013 - 09:49 am 0
  • willi1

    i´m german, with no excuse at all. the brits always want to be at the first place, having the most profit, don´t have any responsibility for and in a community as the eu tries to become. let the language be easy, i´m not in the mood always to think that way if my counterpart doesn´t ever think to learn german.
    i have no problem with them being out. absolutely not. but cameron should not think that the majority of the eu members could have one. it´s boring to hear always his threats in this direction.
    but i would also be happy to have you in.

    Jan 25th, 2013 - 01:51 pm 0
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