Cameron 'depicting EU as enemy'
Published 25/01/2013 | 11:56
The European Parliament chief has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of depicting the EU almost as "an enemy, an occupying enemy" in his landmark speech on the UK's future in Europe.
Martin Schulz warned that Mr Cameron's criticism and call for renegotiating Britain's relations with the EU ahead of a referendum "could be a self-fulfilling prophesy".
Mr Schulz called on the Prime Minister to explain his blueprint for a condensed European Union to the parliament and warned that 21st century challenges require solutions beyond individual nations.
Speaking in Brussels, the European Parliament president also warned Mr Cameron not to seek too many cuts in the 2014-2020 EU budget which will be discussed at the February 7-8 summit of EU leaders, or it could be rejected by the parliament.
"When I read this speech I wondered what is this great evil that the British see in Europe," said Mr Schulz.
The speech was seen by many as a gamble to shore up support for Mr Cameron's fractured, increasingly anti-EU party, that risked antagonising other countries focused on dealing with the eurozone debt crisis.
"I would be pleased to welcome David Cameron to the European Parliament to make a presentation about his ideas," Mr Schulz said.
Britain's eurosceptic UKIP party claimed Mr Cameron's announcement as its biggest victory, with a possible departure from the EU now a realistic possibility.
"You see these knee-jerk reactions. This is dangerous," said Mr Schulz, adding Britain had no reason to complain about the EU, where it had already won many exemptions.
www.europarl.europa.eu/the-president/uk/ (European Parliament President)
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