Cameron to deliver delayed EU speech

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iol pic wld sep 4 David Cameron REUTERS British Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Toby Melville

London - British Prime Minister David Cameron will give his long-delayed speech on the European Union setting out which powers he wants to claw back from the bloc in London on Wednesday, January 23, his office said on Monday.

Cameron postponed the speech last Friday because of the Algeria hostage crisis. He had originally been due to speak in Amsterdam.

“Wednesday morning in London fits best with the prime minister's schedule,” Cameron's spokesman said, saying the premier would field his usual weekly question and answer session in parliament after the address.

“There's a debate going on across the European Union and also an active debate here in the United Kingdom and the prime minister's speech will be reflecting both of those,” the spokesman said.

In the speech, Cameron is expected to spell out plans to renegotiate Britain's membership of the 27-nation bloc and to promise a rare referendum on any deal he can strike. Some politicians have said the move could redefine Britain's role in the world, alienate key allies and determine Cameron's own political fate.

Advance extracts of the speech show that Cameron is planning to warn that Britain will drift out of the EU and that the European project will fail unless the bloc tackles three serious problems: the euro zone debt crisis, faltering competitiveness and declining public support, particularly in Britain. - Reuters

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