Cameron rules out Europe referendum
Wednesday 07 September 2011
David Cameron today insisted Britain must make Europe "work for us" as he again ruled out holding an "in out" referendum.
During Prime Minister's questions he was urged to listen to the calls of Conservative eurosceptics who want a swift vote on the UK's relationship with the EU.
But Mr Cameron, who is meeting President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy today, insisted there was "no case" for a vote.
Mr Cameron said: "I want us to be influential in Europe about the things that matter to our national interest - promoting the single market, pushing forward for growth, making sure we get lower energy prices.
"Those are things we will be fighting for but I don't see the case for an in out referendum on Europe.
"We are in Europe, we have got to make it work for us."
It comes as a group made up from around 80 new intake Conservative MPs plans to press the Government for significant changes in Britain's role in Europe.
Tory MP George Eustice, one of the group's conveners, insisted the initial aim was for reforms rather than a referendum.
He said: "The aim of this new group is to promote debate about creating a new relationship with the EU and reversing the process of EU integration."
The group will work closely with think-tank Open Europe and could eventually expand to take in Labour eurosceptics and possibly some Liberal Democrats.
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said: "The Prime Minster has said today that he didn't see the case for an in/out referendum on Europe. 'We are in Europe', he told us and 'we have got to make it work for us'.
"Well it is obvious that the EU is not working for us, and hasn't worked for us. So then what does Mr Cameron propose?
"By ruling out a referendum he leaves himself naked in the negotiations. Our EU colleagues must be laughing at his naivety."
Downing Street said that Mr Cameron and Mr Van Rompuy discussed the European economy and the current situation in the eurozone, as well as measures to support countries in north Africa, including Libya, through the EU's neighbourhood policies.
Meanwhile, eurosceptic Conservative backbencher Bill Cash tabled a bill which would require a referendum and act of Parliament to approve any provisions for fiscal union within the eurozone.
His proposals, in a private member's bill, stand little chance of receiving the parliamentary time required to become law.
Mr Cash said: "Allowing eurozone member states to go ahead towards fiscal union and economic governance creates two Europes, to which the United Kingdom would remain bound by treaty and law, though they are built on sand.
"The money required for all the bailouts is not within the economic capacity of Germany or the political will in the eurozone countries. It must be accepted that fiscal union within the eurozone will not work and will be unstable, damaging and not improving our own economy.
"It will have profound economic, political and constitutional consequences for our vital national interests. This will fundamentally change the UK's relationship with the whole of the European Union, not only our relationship with the eurozone.
"We must have a referendum in the light of such a profound change in our political relationship with Europe."
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