EUROPE Minister Lucinda Creighton said she was "certain" there was no such thing as a semi-detached relationship with the EU.
During a speech on the perceptions of the Irish in Europe at the Women's Executive Network Breakfast in Belfast, Ms Creighton pledged that Ireland will act as a bridge between the UK and EU when it assumes the European presidency next month.
"I have a sense Britain never looked on the EU as a political project," she said. "They thought it was to be a technical operation which would supply a super free trade area, and a home market for the City of London and its financial and related services.
"So much of the current discussion in Britain seems to be on the basis that it is possible to step outside the door, but still be part of what is going on."
Ms Creighton said members are either in or out: " I am fairly certain that there is no such thing as a semi-detached relationship with the Union."