Cameron: I don’t want a country called Europe



Agencies

Published — Thursday 24 January 2013

Last update 25 January 2013 8:14 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

DAVOS, Switzerland: Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has slammed any moves to forge a United States of Europe.
Cameron, who has shaken up Europe’s political landscape by offering to let citizens vote on whether to leave the 27-nation European Union, says forcing countries into a single entity would be a “great mistake.”
Speaking on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos, Cameron says Britain would stand against any moves to shoehorn countries into a centralized political union.
Many politicians, particularly those in the 17 countries that use the euro, think closer political ties are needed. Some even think something resembling the United States should be Europe’s end-game.
Following Cameron’s pledge to hold a referendum on EU membership, the leaders of Ireland, Italy and The Netherlands were one in saying Britain would be better off staying in the Union.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned that outside the 27-member bloc Britain would be “an island somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between the United States and Europe.”
“It would not be connected with either of these two, so I think it’s vital for us all that they stay in,” added Rutte.
Cameron’s promise to hold a public vote on whether Britain should remain part of the European Union has somewhat hijacked the agenda in Davos, previously expected to consider ways out of the three-year economic crisis.
Addressing the world’s top business and political elite earlier, Cameron denied Britain planned to “turn our backs” on Europe and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the EU as a union would be more powerful with London still involved.
“The EU will continue to be stronger if Britain is part of it,” he said on the same panel. “Whatever happens, I would like to see that Britain would remain central to the European Union. It’s very important in the global sense.”
Kenny, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, also stressed that “five years is an eternity” in politics and urged Europe to use the relative calm on the financial markets to push forward reforms to bolster its economy.
Cameron pledged to hold the referendum by the end of 2017 if re-elected.
“What you need now is clarity,” Kenny said, adding that Ireland had held referendums on several European issues in the past 40 years, with a “positive” response every time.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti said he was confident the British people would choose to continue their tricky relationship with Brussels, because turning their back on the EU would mean losing several economic advantages.
“I believe that when the moment comes, the UK people will say ‘yes’ because... if they say ‘no’, they would have to get out of the single market,” said Monti.
Whereas last year’s meeting of the World Economic Forum was dominated by talk of Greece leaving the eurozone, the leaders agreed the bloc would now stay together, but Rutte surprised some by calling for an exit mechanism.
“I believe our aim should be to have the whole eurozone intact,” said the prime minister.
“At the same time, you can never predict whether at one stage a country would want to leave the eurozone and I think it should be possible,” he added.
And he clashed with Kenny on whether the EU needed to change its founding treaties to include some of the far-reaching reforms agreed during the three-year debt crisis that has pitched the eurozone into recession.
Rutte said that treaty change was necessary “in the medium-term” but Kenny stressed: “There is no opportunity now for re-opening negotiations about treaty changes.”
The Dutch prime minister also complained that too many tasks were being dealt with at a European level — he cited the example of health and safety legislation — and that it was difficult to bring powers back to home parliaments from Brussels.
“In terms of rules and legislation, it’s a bit like ‘Hotel California’, you can check out but you can never leave,” he said.
“You can never repatriate tasks to the national level.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Traffic Department has denied that it is introducing new license plates for cars.It said hackers posted pictures of the supposedly new license plates on its Twitter account on Sunday. The department said the news, which went viral,...
JEDDAH: The Al-Haramain Train project is described as the largest public transportation project in the Middle East. This vital and strategic project is one of the implementation schemes of the mass expansion of the Saudi railway across the country.Th...
JEDDAH: The number of marriages between expatriates and Saudis has dropped 84 percent to 1,928 since the start of this Islamic year that began on Oct. 24, compared to the same period the previous year.The Ministry of Justice said that there were 12,0...
JEDDAH: Unofficial marriage is a refuge for a divorced mother to lead a married life while keeping her children in her custody but without the knowledge of the former husband who could demand the custody of the children if he learned about the ex-wif...
JEDDAH: Makkah’s health department has set up a committee to verify the sick leave certificates of employees.The department stated it would apply government regulations on sick leave, which includes people providing the address of the facilities wher...
RIYADH: The directorate of roads and transport has registered 20 cases of violations worth SR24,500 in Al-Qassim, where the transport ministry continued its surveillance drive against the companies in the transport business.According to the directora...
RIYADH: The implementation of an integrated health plan to combat MERS has resulted in a sharp drop in cases, with only one out of 736 samples testing positive for the contagion in the Kingdom in the last six days. Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khal...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will begin next Tuesday to check whether companies are complying with new laws requiring them to place proper price labels on all their products.It is mandatory for companies to stop using phrases such as...
RIYADH: Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh chaired the first meeting with Yemeni scholars to exchange ideas on how to strengthen their role in restoring peace in their country.The first Saudi-Yemen scholars meeting, dubbed the “outreach sch...
RIYADH: To cope with the growing number of applicants (boys and girls) at technical colleges that reached 126,023 last year, a state-run organization launched an online unified portal to ease the enrolment procedures.According to the Technical and V...
RIYADH: A senior government official from Dhaka, who visited Riyadh last week, has sorted out technical issues to expedite issuing 1.5 million machine readable passports (MRP) to Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom. Information and Communication T...
JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality is keen to provide health and food security to residents and visitors of the city, and they are continually conducting inspections of food stores, restaurants, markets and food storage facilities to avoid any violations by...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has been awarded a top international prize for his contribution to the propagation of the Qur’an.He was named the “Islamic Personality of the Year” by the Holy Qur’an International Memorization Or...
JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier, minister of defense and chairman of the Economic Affairs and Development Council, held a meeting in Jeddah on Monday with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, deputy national security advis...

Stay Connected

Facebook