George Osborne has warned Britain could quit the European Union unless it is reformed.
In the speech to think tank Open Europe and the Fresh Start group of MPs, the Chancellor said there was a “simple choice for Europe — reform or decline”.
“If you cannot protect the collective interests of non-eurozone member states, then they will have to choose between joining the eurozone, which the UK will not do, or leave the European Union,” Mr Osborne said.
But he added: “Our withdrawal from a Europe which succeeded in reforming would be bad for Britain. And a country of the size and global reach of Britain leaving would be very bad for the European Union.”
Mr Osborne said the EU was spending too much on benefits. “Europe accounts for just over 7 per cent of the world’s population, 25 per cent of its economy, and 50 per cent of global social welfare spending,” he said, adding, “We can’t go on like this.”
He added that the 2008 financial crisis had “dramatically accelerated the shifts in the tectonic economic plates that see power moving eastwards and southwards on our planet”.
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