PM: European Reform Up For Discussion
By Joey Jones, Deputy Political Editor
A day after the Queen’s Speech, the government is signalling its intention to press ahead speedily with an In/Out referendum by publishing the EU Referendum Bill.
Details of the bill have been published, including the wording of the question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”
And there is a provision for Wales, where ballot papers will also contain the question in Welsh: “A ddylai’r Deyrnas Unedig ddal i fod yn aelod o’r Undeb Ewropeaidd?”
The bill also gives details of who will be able to vote in the referendum – the same people able to vote in the General Election. It excludes 16 and 17 years olds, who were able to vote in the Scottish referendum, and EU migrants, who can vote in local and European elections.
Play video “Eurozone Must Not Dictate To The UK”
Eurozone Must Not Dictate To The UK
Even as MPs have their first opportunity to scrutinise the legislation, the Prime Minister will begin the diplomatic blitz that he hopes will enable
David Cameron intends to renegotiate the relationship between the UK and its EU partners, with his emphasis on streamlining the single market and on ensuring the rights of EU migrants to claim benefits on arrival are strictly limited.
He has begun his whirlwind visits to European leaders with a meeting with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte.
Play video “Europe: Should We Stay Or Go?”
Europe: Should We Stay Or Go?
Speaking in the Netherlands he said: “I look forward to discussing with Mark the many issues but obviously we will be talking about European reform, the need for flexibility, the need to focus on broken jobs, the need to make sure we complete the single market, the need to make sure that, as you put it (indicating Mr Rutte) Europe where necessary but nation states whereever possible.”
Over the next two days he will visit Warsaw as well as holding talks with the key EU powerbrokers, the French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He intends to hold face-to-face talks with all other EU leaders before a planned summit at the end of June.
Play video “‘A Flawed Union, But UK Better In'”
‘A Flawed Union, But UK Better In’
Downing Street believe that European leaders, as well as the heads of the Commission and Council, recognise the Prime Minister has been given a clear mandate by the British electorate to improve the terms of EU membership.
It is clear that there is a willingness to try to help Mr Cameron achieve some of his goals, and a desire in European capitals that a referendum should be carried out swiftly and with the effect of maintaining the UK’s membership.
Over the coming weeks we will learn the extent to which the Prime Minister’s counterparts are prepared to bend over backwards to facilitate his negotiating strategy.
Play video “PM Meets European President”
PM Meets European President