Uncertainty over Britain's role in EU will harm jobs - Clegg

LONDON Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:52am GMT

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg leaves Downing Street in London November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg leaves Downing Street in London November 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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LONDON (Reuters) - British plans to renegotiate ties with the European Union could chase away investment and jobs, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Tuesday, highlighting fault lines over Europe straining Britain's governing coalition.

Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, will on Friday outline his aim to take advantage of possible EU treaty changes sparked by further integration of euro zone countries to reshape Britain's own ties with the 27-member bloc.

Clegg, who leads the Lib Dems, the Conservatives' junior partner in coalition rule, said there was no guarantee more EU integration would require treaty changes or involve non-euro zone members such as Britain.

That will create uncertainty that could harm Britain's business environment, he said.

"The euro zone is changing, that is obvious. We do not know when that will manifest itself in a new treaty, and we don't know if there is a new treaty. Some significant states in the euro zone do not want any treaty change at all," Clegg told BBC radio.

"We should be very careful at a time when the British economy is still haltingly recovering from the worst economic shock in a generation to create a very high degree and prolonged period of uncertainty, because in my view uncertainty is the enemy of growth and jobs," he added.

Cameron says he wants to remain in the European Union, and is widely expected in a long-awaited speech in the Netherlands on Friday to pledge to reshape ties with the bloc then offer a vote on the deal after the next general election in 2015.

British business leaders echo Clegg's concerns, and are keen to retain access to the EU's single market, where Britain does around half its trade.

(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas, editing by Kate Holton)

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Comments (2)
thorpeman wrote:
So Cleggy thinks no one will invest in the UK with a possible EU referendum coming down the line? Well Tata are adding another 800 to the 25000 they already employ. Cleggy has a vested interest he & the wife have massive EU pensions coming down the line. He should declare an interest before he speaks on this subjects & let us see just why he is so enthusiastic let us see how much is in his EU pension fund & how much he will get if not he should pipe down.

Jan 15, 2013 9:22am GMT  --  Report as abuse
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Uncertainty over Britain’s role in EU will harm jobs – Clegg

And the EU’s over regulation, and a Common Market that is far from a globally competitive one, isnt?

Maybe the jobs Clegg is really referring towards, are surrounding the Brussels parasitic bureaucratic gravy-train, and lobbyist industry that feeds off the parasites…

Jan 15, 2013 10:26am GMT  --  Report as abuse
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