We can’t dismantle Europe, PM told

Published: Thursday 11th June 2015 by The News Editor

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David Cameron has been warned that he will not be allowed to “dismantle” the European Union in the course of his re-negotiation of Britain’s membership terms.

The Prime Minister was continuing his drive to build support for his renegotiation plan in a series of bilateral talks with fellow EU leaders during a Europe-Latin America summit in Brussels.

However he was warned by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel that his country had a series of “red line” issues – including free movement of labour – on which it would not compromise.

“There can’t be any ambiguity: at the end of the process, the result can’t be that we dismantle Europe,” the Belgian Le Soir news website quoted Mr Michel as saying following their talks.

“For Belgium there are red lines: the principles of free movement and non-discrimination between EU citizens are inviolable.

“Neither can there be any veto given to national parliaments – that would be the end of the European Union.”

Mr Michel, who described their discussion as “open and frank”, said he could not rule out the prospect that the re-negotiation would end with Britain voting to leave the EU in Mr Cameron’s promised referendum.

“I can’t rule anything out. But it is the British who have pushed the referendum button. It’s democracy and no-one in Europe argues with that. I recognise that, on Europe, British public opinion see things differently to ours,” he said.

“But if the British think that it is possible for them to enjoy only the advantages of EU membership while the drawbacks are only for the rest, that will not work.”

Downing Street acknowledged that there had been differing views express during the course of his various meetings.

“Clearly there are going to be more discussions needed. We expected that. There will be differing views expressed along the way,” the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said.

During the course of the two-day summit, Mr Cameron also met his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, Finland’s Juha Sipila, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Published: Thursday 11th June 2015 by The News Editor

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