UK Politics

EU referendum: UK settlement will benefit other nations - Osborne

George Osborne Image copyright EPA
Image caption George Osborne will visit Finland, Denmark and Sweden in one day

The UK's plans to renegotiate its relationship with the EU will benefit other nations, Chancellor George Osborne is to tell European leaders.

Mr Osborne is visiting Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen on Monday to build support for the UK's demands.

He will argue that a wave of public support for change across Europe makes it the right time to act.

An in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the EU is scheduled to take place before the end of 2017.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to renegotiate the UK's relationship with the EU ahead of the referendum.

'Mandate to renegotiate'

Mr Osborne is expected to say: "This government has been given a very clear mandate to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the rest of the EU and to reform the EU so it works for all its citizens.

"We are determined to deliver a new settlement for Europe that works for everyone within it.

"The results of our efforts will be put to the British people in a referendum and they will decide.

"As part of that, our process of renegotiation must include engaging actively with our key partners in Europe and that's why today's meetings in Finland, Sweden and Denmark are so important."


What does renegotiation mean?

Image copyright EPA
Image caption French economy minister Emmanuel Macron, left, with Mr Osborne

The prime minister has not set out in full detail what he wants but his key demands include:

  • An opt-out on the core EU aim of "ever closer union"
  • The sovereignty of national parliaments to be boosted, so groups of them can block proposed EU legislation
  • Safeguard the City of London and other financial centres outside the eurozone
  • Curb EU immigration by cutting benefits
  • Make the EU more streamlined and competitive

To get what it wants the UK believes it will need to rewrite treaties agreed by all 28 EU members.

Q&A: UK's planned EU referendum


Mr Osborne's talks will also focus on expanding trade with growing economies and protecting the rights of non-eurozone countries.

He is also expected to say that reforms can be achieved in Brussels if Britain and other countries work together, pointing to cuts secured in the EU budget in 2012.

Mr Osborne's latest tour comes after he took centre stage in the UK's attempts to reform its relationship with the EU by launching a diplomatic tour that began in Paris last month.

The latest visit is one of a series of meetings he will hold in Europe over the next few months to build on discussions Mr Cameron held with counterparts following the Conservatives' general election victory in May.

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