UK prime minister David Cameron has said the package of proposed reforms to Britain’s membership of the EU will allow the UK to be “better off, more secure, more prosperous” as a member of the 28-nation bloc, as he set the scene for an in/out referendum within a matter of months.
Mr Cameron said the proposals drafted by European Council president Donald Tusk were “something worth fighting for”, and were good enough that he “sure would” back Britain joining the EU under these terms, if it was not already a member.
The changes – which offer an “emergency brake” on migrant welfare, protections for non-eurozone states and a legal-binding assurance that the UK is not expected to pursue integration through “ever-closer union” – offered Britain “the best of both worlds” by giving it access to the single market and a voice around the table the European Council while allowing it to remain outside the euro and the Schengen border-free area.
Speaking in Chippenham, Wiltshire, within hours of the publication of the Tusk package in Brussels, Mr Cameron said Britain could survive and succeed outside the EU and acknowledged that the EU will not be “a perfect and unblemished organisation” after the implementation of the reforms.
But he added: “I think we will be able to show – if we can secure what’s in this document, finish off the details and improve it still further – that on balance Britain is better off, more secure, more prosperous, has a better chance of success for all of our families and all our people inside this reformed European Union.
He said: “I think this is the best of both worlds – out of the single currency, out of the no-borders agreement, out of an ever-closer union, but in the things that work for Britain, that give us jobs, that give us security, that give us the ability to make sure we have a stronger and safer world. I think that’s something worth fighting for.”