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Cameron to call on business to support staying in EU

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron waits to greet Queen Rania of Jordan at Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain January 8, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

DAVOS, Switzerland - (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron will call on business leaders on Thursday to speak up in favour of Britain staying in a reformed European Union to help him shape “the future direction” of the 28-member bloc.

At the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos, Cameron will meet British business leaders to ask them to voice their support for his push to change Britain’s relationship with the EU, which he says will benefit their companies.

Cameron hopes to win a deal with the European Union at its next council meeting in February, opening the way for a referendum on membership which could take place as early as June. He will also meet EU leaders in Davos to press his case.

“If you believe like I do that Britain is better off in a reformed European Union ... then when the time comes, help me make that case for Britain to stay,” he will say.

“This is a once in a generation moment - and the stakes are high.”

Many British businessmen are keen for Britain to stay in the European Union, which as a bloc is the country’s biggest trading partner, but argue that reforms are needed to make sure the single market in the digital and service industries is developed.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Estelle Shirbon