Open Europe Blog

David Cameron, interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme, has given some more details about his forthcoming big EU speech to end all EU speeches (well…). So what should we expect? Here are some key excerpts:

He said a new EU settlement “is not something we should be frightened of, it is something we should embrace.”
He believes there’s a “real chance” of it happening and that

“The Dutch and German Prime Ministers have both been making arguments along those lines.”

That he floats Germany is interesting. He was not to be drawn on what exactly the referendum would be on or when:

“We will have a new settlement and  then will put that to the British people in a very straightforward way so that they can give or not give their consent to those changes”

But what if the reform-sceptics – on all sides – are right and reform is not on the table, would he ever consider leaving the EU?

“If you are saying to me, would Britain collapse if it left the European Union? No, of course not. You could chose a different path. The question is what is in our national interest and I have always been very clear it is in our national interest as a trading nation to be in the single market but not like Norway just accept all the rules of the single market pay for the privilege of being part of it and as it were be governed by fax from Brussels.”

This is all familiar stuff: Cameron thinks the UK is better off in (he’s been saying that for ages), is committed to the UK public being given “fresh consent”, implicitly via a referendum, and he denies all charges of “blackmailing” or inadvertently risking the UK’s EU membership via renegotiation.

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