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 led-coalition fighting to reinstate Yemen’s exiled government aims first to set it up in Aden and then return it to Sanaa if possible via peace talks with Houthi foes, a coalition spokesman said.But if the Iranian-allied Houthis did...
RIYADH: Nine Omani Umrah pilgrims, on their way back home, were killed and 34 were injured, in a road accident which took place near Khurais, between Riyadh and Al-Ahsa province.According to police, the coach carrying the pilgrims collided with a tra...
JEDDAH: The Kingdom and Namibia have signed a protocol to establish diplomatic relations between them.According to SPA, the protocol was signed on Tuesday by Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Abdullah Al-Mouallimi and his...
JEDDAH: Official reports reveal nationalization levels of medical and health workers in the Kingdom remain low, with Saudi nationals making up only 21.7 percent of physicians, 31.8 percent of nurses, and 67.4 percent of ancillary staff.According to t...
JEDDAH: The Saudi Food and Drugs Authority (SFDA) will begin receiving clearance applications for medicines and medical supplies, including drugs containing narcotic or psychotropic substances, for Haj missions or other government bodies on Saturday....
JEDDAH: Saudi importers of cattle said the Haj season this year will not see an increase in the price of livestock due to the stability of the local market and the available supply.There are also guarantees from exporting countries that required quan...
JEDDAH: At the upcoming elections the national identity card will be the only approved document used for identifying voters of both genders and allowing voters to exercise their electoral right, provided all statutory requirements are met.In a press...
JEDDAH: Education Minister Azzam Al-Dakhil has spoken of a new education policy which emphasizes the importance of harmonizing admission policies in universities with the needs of the labor market.Al-Dakhil made these remarks during a meeting with un...
JEDDAH: Local bottled water consumption during the summer, Umrah and Haj seasons this year will increase by 10 percent.“This translates into an annual growth rate of between 4 percent and 5 percent,” Rashed Bin-Zouma, a water industry expert, was qu...
RIYADH: Four Saudi secondary students including a young woman from the Eastern Province have received prestigious medals at the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), which concluded in Azerbaijan last week.The winners of the four bronze medal...
JEDDAH: The UAE’s decision to lift fuel subsidies beginning in August has raised the possibility of other Gulf states following suit.Economists suggest a wide disparity of prices of gasoline in the Gulf countries will lead to more petrol smuggling op...
DAMMAM: The tourism industry in the Kingdom is witnessing great interest by authorities to develop the archaeological areas, promote their support services and create the best environment for tourism products, said businessman Abdul Mohsen Al-Hokair....
JEDDAH: The ongoing World Circus at north Obhur has brought smiles on the faces of orphans, with its show of acrobats featuring 20 performers and clowns.The orphans of Al-Rawdah district charitable organization said they found the circus entertaining...
RIYADH: The Nepalese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Udayaraj Pandey, thanked the Kingdom on Thursday as he ends his four-year tour of duty in Saudi Arabia.Earlier in the day, he called on Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar to pay him a courtesy call a...
RIYADH: Movies produced by young and amateur Saudi filmmakers will be shown on Saudi Television starting in the middle of next week.“The films will be shown daily to encourage young Saudi filmmakers,” said Abdulaziz Fahad Al-Eid, senior broadcaster a...

Stay Connected

Facebook