UK’s fate lies in Europe, says French minister

UK's fate lies in Europe, says French minister
French finance minister Emmanuel Macron says france is stepping up reforms. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP
France's Economy Minister continued his government's recent attempts at a charm offensive of Anglo countries this week when on a trip to London this week, he vowed that France was "stepping up reforms".

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron warned against "scaremongering" over Britain's EU membership as he visited London on Monday in an attempt to defend his government's reform record.

The minister, who will meet his counterpart George Osborne on Tuesday, said France was "stepping up reforms" and there was a bias in the British press that portrayed France as the "opposite" of Britain.

"We are showing that we are stepping up reforms," Macron told the French press corps in London.

France has announced a package of tax cuts for business worth €40 billion ($50 billion), in exchange for a pledge to create 500,000 jobs.

But the country is set to bust EU deficit limits until 2017 and the government has also proposed 50 billion euros in budget cuts over three years.

The minister also spoke about Britain-EU ties.

"There should be no scaremongering. Britain's fate is definitely in Europe, nowhere else. The question is how they want to exercise their role in Europe and what kind of Europe they want," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership in 2017 if he stays in power following next May's general election.

He has said he will lead the campaign to stay but only in "a reformed Europe", as the anti-EU UK Independence Party gains in political clout.

Former prime minister John Major last week warned there was a "real risk" that Britons could vote to leave the European Union without reforms including curbs on immigration freedoms within Europe.

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