LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron’s major speech on Britain’s relations with the EU will pacify “all but the hard core” eurosceptics, a senior government source told The Observer newspaper.
Cameron had been due to deliver the speech in Amsterdam on Friday but called it off due to the Algerian gas plant hostage crisis.
“He wants to go ahead as soon as possible. There will be something in it which will pacify all but the hard core” in his Conservative Party, The Observer quoted the source as saying.
“But he could deliver the same kind of speech that Margaret Thatcher gave in Bruges in 1988 and around 25 MPs would not be happy. It is not possible to please everyone.”
Thatcher, the “Iron Lady”, went to the historic Belgian city to outline her opposition to proposals for a federal structure and increased centralisation in Europe.
Cameron is now likely to deliver the speech this week, but no announcement has been made as to where and when.
According to extracts of the speech given to the media before the speech was called off on Thursday, Cameron was to have said that Britain could drift out of the European Union unless the bloc meets key challenges.
Britons were tiring of the EU’s “lack of democratic accountability”.
“If we don’t address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit,” the extracts said.
“I do not want that to happen. I want the European Union to be a success and I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it.”
The extracts did not contain a widely expected announcement of plans to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership and to put the new terms to the British public in a referendum.
The Sunday Times cited a YouGov poll which found 40 percent would vote in a referendum to remain in the EU, with 34 percent voting to leave.
Some Conservatives are worried that the centre-right party is losing ground to the United Kingdom Independence Party, which advocates a full withdrawal from the EU.
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British PM’s EU speech ‘will pacify eurosceptics’ – AFP
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