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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

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EU veto in national interest - David Cameron

'I went to Brussels to do just that':

UK: British Prime Minister David Cameron told lawmakers on Monday that his decision to veto a new EU treaty was in the national interest, while insisting that membership of the bloc remained vital.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of the pro-Europe Liberal Democrats was notably absent from Cameron's side in parliament, underscoring the rift the issue has caused in the Conservative-led coalition government.

Cameron said he had sought a deal at a eurozone crisis summit last week that would be acceptable to all 27 EU nations but they refused his “modest, reasonable and relevant” demands for safeguards for the City of London. “I went to Brussels with one objective, to protect Britain's national interests, and that is what I did,” Cameron said, to cheers from his Conservative party.

He said Britain would continue to work with the other 26 EU nations, which after his veto went on to agree in principle to join a “new fiscal compact” aimed at saving the debt-hit euro.

“Britain remains a full member of the EU, and the events of last week do nothing to change that. Our membership of the EU is vital to our national interest,” he said.

He also took a softer line than British officials had over the weekend about whether Britain would allow the other EU nations to use the bloc's institutions to pursue their pact without the United Kingdom.

But Cameron faced fierce criticism from opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband, who accused him of coming back with a “bad deal for Britain” that had no safeguards for the vital City of London financial hub. AFP

 

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