LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron will deliver a major speech on January 18 in the Netherlands spelling out how he wants to renegotiate his country’s relationship with the European Union, his official spokesman said on Monday.
“He sees it as important to set out his view about it being in the British national interest to remain in the European Union, though (with) a changed relationship,” the spokesman said.
Cameron has repeatedly said he wants Britain to remain in the EU but has made it clear he intends to try to repatriate a wide range of powers from the bloc in policy areas where his ruling Conservative party believes Brussels’ influence has become overbearing and pernicious.
Cameron faces a dilemma. Many MPs in his own party are pressuring him to call a fully-fledged referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU, a demand backed by opinion polls which show a slim majority of Britons would, if given the chance, vote to leave the 27-nation bloc.
But business leaders in Britain have said they are strongly opposed to the prospect of the country radically downgrading ties with its biggest trading partner, while international partners from the United States to Germany and Ireland have made it clear they oppose a British EU exit and think such a move would isolate and damage Britain itself.
“The audience will be a mixture of business representatives, European diplomats and other interested parties,” Cameron’s spokesman said.
Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Writing and editing by Andrew Osborn