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Britons not happy, PM Cameron tells EU President

world Updated: May 26, 2015 18:54 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar

Prime Minister David Cameron has conveyed to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, that British people were not happy with current arrangements with the European Union, and wanted the EU to change and address their concerns.

Cameron has been meeting EU leaders after the May 7 elections in which Britain’s membership of EU was a major issue. The UK Independence Party, which wants Britain to exit the 28-member groups, polled 12% of the votes, while Cameron promised a referendum on Britain’s membership by the end of 2017.

Cameron’s meeting with Juncker on Monday evening at the Chequers – the country retreat of the Prime Minister – came at a time when France and Germany are seeking closer ties with the European Union, in contrast to the centrifugal opinion in Britain.

After the meeting, a spokesperson for Cameron said, “The talks focused on reforming the EU and renegotiating the UK’s relationship with it. The Prime Minister underlined that the British people are not happy with the status quo and believe that the EU needs to change in order to better address their concerns.”

He added, “Juncker reiterated that he wanted to find a fair deal for the UK and would seek to help. They talked through the issue at some length in the spirit of finding solutions to these problems. They agreed that more discussion would be needed, including with other leaders, on the best way forward.”

A bill on holding the referendum by the end of 2017 is to be included in the Queen’s speech to the new Parliament on Wednesday. The government has already announced that most EU citizens residing in the UK will not be allowed to vote in the referendum.

Britain’s membership in EU has become a major issue in recent years due to the perception that the union was taking over more powers and funds from member-states.

It has also been fuelled by migration of hundreds of thousands of EU citizens in the recent years to the UK who have the right of free movement throughout the union.