Old assumptions about Europe are collapsing, Prime Minister David Cameron told attendees at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet.
Describing himself as a “sceptic” of the European Union, Cameron has nevertheless expressed a commitment to retaining UK membership, as he says “leaving the EU is not in our national interest”.
The speech was split between emphasising the UK’s dependence on a strong European Union and the importance of remaining a part of the process in order to repair the parts that aren’t working.
“Out of crisis can come opportunity for the European Union, if its member states are ready to grasp it.
“Now is the chance to ask: what kind of Europe do we actually want?” asks Cameron.
In an apparent nod to the Conservative MPs who challenged Cameron on the subject of an EU referendum last month, he attacked the red tape associated with the EU and claimed power is no longer becoming more centralised.
“It’s the pointless interference, rules and regulations that stifle growth not unleash it,” he says. “Powers would only ever go one way – to the centre. And now everything is changing.”
“An opportunity, in Britain’s case, for powers to ebb back instead of flow away,” he adds.
Britain’s role in the EU should be focused on the scrapping of this excessive bureaucracy as well as opening up of our energy markets, according to the Prime Minister.
Outside of Europe, the UK needs to “forge stronger relationships with countries like Brazil, Russia, India, China, Turkey, Nigeria and South Africa”.
He denied that trade agreements with counties like Russia and China requires a sacrifice of values and instead called it ‘bold’ to be trading with a country whose “politics are troubling”.
“In dealing with other countries, their politics matter. But when the politics are troubling the answer isn’t to deal with the politics and put the trade on hold.
“We must be bold enough to try and deal with the politics and the trade at the same time.”
Shared prosperity is also a means of ensuring shared security, he adds.
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