Cameron's EU strategy 'dangerous'

Sun, Jan 13, 2013, 00:00

UK opposition leader Ed Miliband said prime minister David Cameron's strategy on the European Union is "incredibly dangerous" as pressure for the government to renegotiate its membership terms intensifies.

He was speaking as a poll showed most Britons wanted a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU although the number supporting withdrawal had fallen.

"He is essentially sleepwalking us toward the exit door from the EU," the Labour party leader Miliband said on BBC's Andrew Marr Show" today. "It's incredibly dangerous."

Mr Cameron, who is set to make a key speech on  the UK.'s relationship with Europe later this month, is under pressure from some members of his Conservative party to call a referendum on pulling out of the EU.

The government's language on Europe has hardened in recent days, with chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne telling Germany's Die Welt newspaper on Friday that the EU will need to change if Britain is to remain a member.

MPs from Fresh Start, a group of euroskeptic Conservative members of  parliament, will call for EU treaty changes to help reset a range of powers covering crime, justice and policing, the Sunday Telegraph said today, citing a copy of a report to be published later this week.

A ComRes poll commissioned by  the Sunday People newspaper, published today, showed the UK Independence party (UKIP), which seeks Britain's exit from the EU, gaining 23 percent support, more than double the share of the vote they received in 2009.

The Conservative Party  trails with 22 percent and Labour remains in the lead with 35 percent. 'Incredible Gamble' While 63 percent of Britons favor a referendum, support for outright withdrawal fell to 33 percent, according to the online  poll of 2,059 people from December 19th to December 21st.

"The last thing we should do is start to say that at some date in five or six, seven years hence let's decide now to have an in-out referendum," Mr Miliband said. "That's an incredible gamble."

Treasury secretary Danny Alexander, a member of the coalition government's Liberal Democrat party, told Sky News today that "Britain should continue to be a leading member of  the EU."

Still, he acknowledged that he couldn't see Britain "joining the euro in the foreseeable future, if ever."

Bloomberg

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