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Queen marks EU referendum countdown

12:56pm BST - 02:05

Britain's Queen Elizabeth will set out the government's plans for a European Union membership referendum. As Ciara Lee reports it's taking place as Prime Minister David Cameron faces pressure to explain when it will be held and what changes to the EU he wants before then.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth officially opens parliament on behalf of the country's new Conservative government. And amid the traditional display of pomp and pageant, there were pressing issue to address. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITAIN'S QUEEN ELIZABETH, SAYING: "My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union. And pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all member states. Along side this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in/out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017." David Cameron was re-elected Prime Minister on a pledge to reshape ties with the bloc and then let Britain decided whether to stay or leave. But it's not clear when the vote will be and the uncertainly is unsettling Christian Schulz from Berenberg says the UK has more to lose than Europe. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) CHRISTIAN SCHULZ, SENIOR ECONOMIST, BERENBERG, SAYING: "The EU is by far the biggest export market for the UK and exiting that export market, depending of course on what the future relationship of the UK with the rest of EU would be, poses enormous risk for the UK economy. Ultimately it is not just about goods that are produced in the UK and exported to the EU, it's mainly about the city of London and about services where the EU has so much potential for Britain." Cameron doesn't support the EU's aim of forging an "ever closer union." He also wants to restrict EU migrants' access to Britain's welfare system. But some European politicians have complained they don't know enough about what Cameron wants to change. Later this week he'll embark on a European tour to try to charm some of his more reluctant counterparts into backing EU reform. He'll hold talks with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But he might have a tough task ahead. Reuters has seen evidence that the euro zone's top two economies have agreed plans to strengthen cooperation among the 19 countries using the euro - without changing existing treaties.

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Queen marks EU referendum countdown

12:56pm BST - 02:05