UK's Cameron demands EU treaty safeguards
LONDON - Reuters
British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at a pharmaceutical and biotechnology conference in London on December 5. AFP PhotoBritish Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday he would accept a new European Union treaty intended to prop up the euro zone only if it does not impinge on British interests.
In an opinion piece in the Times newspaper Cameron said that if euro zone countries want to use the "institutions of Europe" to rescue the single currency, they will have to support a number of British safeguards in return.
"The most important British interest right now is to sort out the problem in the eurozone that is having the chilling effect on our economy," he said.
"That obviously means eurozone countries doing more together and if they choose to use the European Treaty to do that, then obviously there will be British safeguards and British interests that I will want to insist on."
Cameron said he would not sign a treaty that did not protect British interests, such as the importance of the single market and financial services.
"If they choose to go ahead with a separate treaty, then clearly that is not a treaty that Britain would be signing or would be amending but, of course, if they want to use the European institutions, then we will be insisting on the safeguards and the protections that Britain needs." Cameron said a treaty change involving the 27 EU members is the most "credible way of pushing Europe forward", but added any proposal that does not safeguard Britain will be rejected.
"To save the single currency you need more than a treaty, you need to address the competitiveness problem, the deficit problem, you need to take action to convince the markets that you are serious.
"If they choose to use the European Treaty to do that, Britain will be insisting on some safeguards too. As long as we get those, then that treaty can go ahead. If we can't get those, it won't," said Cameron.
In a separate interview with the Financial Times newspaper on Wednesday, British justice secretary Kenneth Clarke warned Conservative party Eurosceptics to forget about referendums or repatriation of powers from Brussels ahead of the beginning of the EU summit on Thursday.
His comments came amid scepticism in the ruling Conservative party over David Cameron's reluctance to hold a referendum on proposals to fix the euro zone crisis.