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23 January 2013

Schulz on Cameron: "Second class EU membership is not in the UK interest"

Reacting to Cameron's speech on the UK's future in the EU, EP President Schulz said: "This was an inward-looking speech that does not reflect European reality and will not impress many of the UK's European partners". (Includes link to EC reaction.)

"The speech was more about domestic politics reflecting concerns of eurosceptic elements of the Conservative Party.

I suspect that Prime Minister Cameron with his referendum announcement is playing a dangerous game for tactical, domestic reasons. I believe him when he says that he wants the UK to remain a member of the EU. But Prime Minister Cameron increasingly resembles the sorcerer's apprentice, who cannot tame the forces that he has conjured – forces that want to leave the EU for ideological reasons, to the detriment of the British people.

Attempting to revisit major parts of the Acquis Communautaire and picking and choosing the bits of which the UK approves sets a dangerous precedent. Indeed, it could lead to piecemeal legislation, disintegration and potentially the break-up of the Union.

Any attempt by the UK government to repatriate powers to Westminster is likely to be a drawn out and cumbersome negotiation. I would question whether it is truly in the British and European long-term interest. However attractive repatriation may seem on the surface, it would involve long and complex procedures – with no guarantee of a favourable outcome - renegotiation is a two-way process where no artificial deadlines can be imposed by one side.

In a globalised world, it is not in the UK's interest to seek to downgrade to some kind of 'second class' EU membership and so choose to weaken its own influence on European and global affairs.

We need a UK as a fully-fledged member, not harbouring in the port of Dover."

Press release

Video - European Commission reaction to speech

© European Parliament

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