Cameron warned over EU reform plans

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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David Cameron has been given a fresh indication of the resistance he will encounter in his plan to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with Brussels as a senior French minister warned against the creation of an “a la carte” European Union where members could pick and choose the aspects they liked.

The Prime Minister’s proposals for reform will be considered by European leaders at a summit tomorrow and he has indicated he believes changes to the EU’s fundamental treaties will be necessary to meet his demands.

But French economy minister Emmanuel Macron indicated his country would oppose any push for treaty change and suggested that Mr Cameron’s desire to reform freedom of movement rules could be “a problem” because the principle is part of the “European DNA”.

Mr Cameron will hold talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel before attending a state banquet with the Queen in Berlin later and is expected to have face-to-face meetings with other European counterparts before the Brussels summit begins tomorrow as he continues his drive to find allies in support of his reform agenda.

Mr Macron said: ” I don’t understand how it’s possible to say ‘we, the UK, want to have all the positive reasons to be part of the club of 28 and the European passport and a great financial place for all the EU members, if we don’t want to share any risk with the other member states’. It doesn’t fly. It’s a common responsibility.”

He told the BBC that any move towards treaty change would be rejected unless the people of Europe could be convinced of the need.

“If you speak about treaty change, the answer is no,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense. Whatever the treaty change will be, we need first to convey a positive image of Europe to reconcile people, otherwise, whatever the question will be, the answer of our people will be ‘no’, just because it’s about Europe.”

Mr Cameron wants to impose restrictions on the ability of EU migrants to claim benefits in the UK as part of his move to curb the number of people coming to the country, but Mr Macron warned against attempting to challenge the freedom of movement rules.

If the Prime Minister attempted to challenge that principle “t hat’s a problem because it’s part of the European DNA” but if Mr Cameron wanted “just to adapt the rules” the French would be prepared to discuss it.

“But I think we have to be extremely cautious not to create an EU a la carte, otherwise that’s the starting point of dismantling a mansion,” he added.

“Creating more flexibility and more simplicity for all member states is fine. But starting to create more simplicity for one member state is just a dismantling.”

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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