Britain could pull out of European Union: George Osborne
George Osborne has delivered the strongest warning to date that Britain might be forced to leave the European Union unless a fresh settlement is negotiated by its 27 leaders.india Updated: Jan 14, 2013 00:09 IST
George Osborne has delivered the strongest warning to date that Britain might be forced to leave the European Union unless a fresh settlement is negotiated by its 27 leaders.
In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, published after an ally of Angela Merkel criticised the UK for seeking to "blackmail" its partners, Osborne called for change to ensure Britain remains a member of the EU.
His intervention came as the leader of Tory MEPs warned that strident Euroscepticism was in danger of giving the impression of Britain “snarling like a pitbull across the Channel”.
In his interview with Die Welt, Osborne said: "I very much hope that Britain remains a member of the EU. But in order that we can remain in the European Union, the EU must change."
The Treasury confirmed that the translation of the interview, which was published in German, was accurate. But a source played down the significance of the chancellor's comments.
“This is consistent with what we have said,” a Treasury source said. “We want to remain in the EU but the EU needs to change, and indeed is changing.”
The remarks by Osborne were consistent with the approach David Cameron will set out in his long-awaited speech on Europe this month.