• France's news in English

France warns Cameron over EU referendum plan

The Local/AFP · 23 Jan 2013, 10:18

Published: 23 Jan 2013 10:18 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised in a speech on Wednesday to hold a referendum on Britain's place in the EU if his Conservative party are re-elected to power in 2015.

But in an interview with France Info radio French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said a referendum would place Britain in peril.

"It risks being dangerous for Britain itself because Britain outside of Europe, that will be difficult," Fabus said, adding that Britain could not treat Europe as an "a la carte menu".

"We hope Britain can make a positive contribution to Europe. Imagine the EU as a football club. When you join it, you are in. You cannot just decide to go and play rugby," Fabius added.

Cameron said in a long-awaited speech that he wants to renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership before putting the new deal to a vote

In extracts from his speech, which were released in advance, the prime minister said Britain as a nation should decide on its future place in Europe.

"It is time for the British people to have their say," he said. "It is time to settle this European question in British politics. I say to the British people: this will be your decision."

As well as signalling that France would oppose Cameron's plans to build a new, exclusively trade-based relationship with the EU, Fabius said withdrawal from the bloc would hit investment in Britain.

"The other day I had a meeting with British businessmen and I told them: Listen, if Britain decides to leave Europe, we will roll out the red carpet for you."

Cameron infuriated French leaders last year by remarking that he would roll out a red carpet for entrepreneurs moving to London to escape France's higher wealth taxes.

Story continues below…

The spokeswoman for France's socialist government Najat Vallaud-Belkacem also insisted Britain should remain in the EU.

Being a member of the European Union has a number of obligations," she said.

"The Europe that we believe in is a pact of solidarity and that solidarity applies to all member states."

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available