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08 July 2013

BBC: UK seeks allies for EU reforms without treaty change

The UK's Europe Minister David Lidington says the UK government hopes to achieve some "important reforms" in the EU without going as far as treaty change.

Among those reforms would be creating a fully functioning single market for services and a bigger role for national parliaments in EU affairs, Mr Lidington said. Conservatives argue that businesses and public services are overburdened with EU employment regulations, such as the Working Time Directive. But Mr Lidington said that "on social Europe we haven't been putting forward the opt-out" because the Liberal Democrats - the Conservatives' coalition partners - "took a different view". "We have to take account of negotiability", he added.

Mr Lidington said that "many important reforms can be achieved which don't need treaty change" and Mr Cameron was "pressing ahead with that". The UK was especially keen to create a strong EU single market in services, he said, calling it "woefully underdeveloped". Many national barriers still exist in the energy, transport and digital market sectors. "But at some stage in the next few years it will not only be necessary to reopen the treaties, but other countries will want to do so too", Mr Lidington said.

Full article

© BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation

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