LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron will seek to prevent mass migration and European Union interference in police and judicial matters, he said on Sunday, providing the most detail yet on how he intends to reform the country’s relationship with the EU.
Under pressure from eurosceptics in his Conservative party and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) ahead of European elections in May, Cameron has promised to reshape Britain’s ties with the EU before giving Britons a vote on whether to leave the 28-nation bloc if he wins next year’s national election.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Cameron, who had previously given little information on specific changes he wanted from the EU, outlined the key concerns at the heart of his approach to renegotiation.
Cameron indicated his “support for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members but with new mechanisms in place to prevent mass migrations across the continent”.
He said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte share his view that the status quo is not working, adding that he wants national parliaments to be able to work together to block unwanted European legislation.
“No to ever-closer union. No to a constant flow of power to Brussels. No to unnecessary interference. And no, it goes without saying, to the euro, to participation in euro zone bailouts or notions such as a European Army,” he wrote.
British police forces and justice systems should also be unencumbered by unnecessary interference from European institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights, the British Prime Minister said.
Though Cameron backed the single market and free trade, he said he wants to cut red tape for businesses.
Last week opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband said that a future Labour government is unlikely to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU this decade, lowering the chances of Britain leaving the bloc.
Opinion polls show that about 40 percent of British voters want to stay in the EU, with about the same proportion wanting to leave, though they also show widespread hostility to immigration and dissatisfaction with established political parties.
Cameron said that when he has achieved his “ambitious agenda” for a new EU, he would campaign for Britain to remain a member at a planned referendum in 2017.
“Delivering it will take time and patience,” he wrote. “It will require negotiation with our European partners. Some of the changes will best be achieved by alterations to the European treaties - others can be achieved by different means.”
Editing by David Goodman