Friday 21 July 2017

UK reviews EU membership

British PM Cameron accuses France and Germany of 'constant attacks'

James Kirkup in Perth

THE British government is reviewing every aspect of Britain's membership of the European Union to support David Cameron's promises to bring back powers from Brussels.

The review, involving every major government department, emerged as the British prime minister bluntly accused France and Germany of orchestrating "constant attacks" on the City of London through new EU red tape on the financial sector.

Mr Cameron's attack is the latest escalation in the tension over Europe since this week's record rebellion by Conservative MPs demanding a referendum on the EU.

Ministers at the Foreign Office are privately backing plans by backbench MPs and peers to set out a "menu" of demands from the EU, including repatriating powers on employment regulations and human rights legislation.

Some Tory MPs believe the process should start next month when leaders begin formal talks on changing EU treaties to allow a rescue package for the eurozone.

Conservative attempts to claw back power from the EU are likely to face opposition from their Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, yesterday said there was "no question" of Britain "unilaterally" repatriating powers from the EU. But he indicated there was room for negotiation.

Powers

He said Britain was "entirely within its rights" to defend its economic interests in Europe but argued the best way to do that was to "have a voice at the top table".

Speaking at a commonwealth summit in Perth, Australia, Mr Cameron admitted he needed to "work harder" to win the approval of right-wing Conservative members and supporters over Europe.

At a press conference, Mr Cameron said he was "happy" that diplomats and others are reassessing in detail Britain's membership and the powers of the European institutions. "We are looking at the balance of powers. That work is now under way," he said.

It is understood every part of the British relationship with the EU, and every set of European regulations, will be scrutinised. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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