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United Kingdom/EU

Published on January 25, 2013
Excerpts from the interview given by M. Bernard Cazeneuve,

Minister Delegate for European Affairs, to Canal Plus

Paris, January 24, 2013


Q. – So, you [Paris and Berlin] didn’t respond to David Cameron with one voice.

THE MINISTER – Yes, we said the same thing. What did we say? We said first of all that we’d like Britain to remain in the European Union. We need Britain in the EU, because in the internal market…

Q. – Perhaps not firmly enough.

THE MINISTER – …Britain is a power, an economic force. It’s also in Britain’s interest to stay in the EU; moreover, David Cameron himself has understood this; he didn’t propose that Britain leave the EU. And also…

Q. – But when Laurent Fabius says, “We’re going to roll out the red carpet for businesses”, that’s provocation.

THE MINISTER – …and we also said, along with the Germans: we can talk, but we must talk in a clear framework, and Europe can’t be an à la carte Europe, you can’t have more and more derogations, you can’t tailor things to each country…

Q. – And couldn’t we imagine just that? Why not? Ultimately, why not?

THE MINISTER – …because if we did that, we’d be unable to move towards what allows Europe to ensure lasting growth, lasting prosperity for its people: namely, social integration, fiscal integration, a budget for the EU which doesn’t boil down to a discussion about cuts and rebates but which allows us to have real resources for real policies on growth, agricultural policy and the environment.

Q. – So today you’re saying to Cameron, “you either stay or go, but you can’t have an à la carte Europe”.

THE MINISTER – You can’t have an à la carte Europe, you can’t have more and more derogations. There can, in the framework of the institutional changes the EU will undergo, be discussions between the states; they’ll be taking place, moreover, in the run-up to the 2014 elections, and they’re already taking place, because Herman Van Rompuy, at the request of the heads of state and government, as the President of the Council, is proposing changes for the EU. Discussion, yes, but Europe works more on the basis of compromise – good compromise that moves it forward – than trials of strength or power relationships. (…)./.