US prez Barack Obama calls on Britain to remain in European Union

  • AFP, Washington
  • Updated: Jul 24, 2015 10:42 IST

Ahead of the planned British referendum over country's association with the European Union, US President Barack Obama has urged Britain to stay in the transatlantic union, cautioning remaining in the bloc was necessary to help preserve the nation's global influence.

"Having the UK in the European Union gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union," Obama said.

"We want to make sure that the United Kingdom continues to have that influence."

Obama went on to refer to the EU as a "cornerstone of institutions built after World War II" that has helped make the global community "safer and more prosperous".

Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on the country's EU membership by the end of 2017.

The vote, which is going ahead after Cameron's centre-right Conservatives won a clear majority during general election held in May, is scheduled to take place sometime before 2017 but could come as early as next year.

Cameron is negotiating with Europen Union leaders to try to change the terms of Britain's membership of the bloc before holding the referendum.

Last month, Cameron told reporters at the G7 summit in Germany his goal was to "renegotiate, get a deal that's in Britain's interest and then recommend Britain stays in it".

The EU has been rocked in recent weeks by contentious negotiations between Greece and international creditors to secure a third bailout for the nation and prevent the country from exiting the union.

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