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British referendum casts shadow over Davos

British referendum casts shadow over Davos
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David Cameron is at the World Economic Forum in Davos alongside his European counterparts on Thursday. His address was watched with keen interest.

The British Prime Minisiter told the audience: “This is not about turning our backs on Europe, quite the opposite. This is about how we make the case for a more competitive, a more open, a more flexible Europe and how we secure the UK’s place in it.”

Cameron’s speech comes a day after promising the British people a vote on staying in or opting out of Europe.

He also warned that Britain would not be part of forced attempts into a deeper EU political union.

Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt told Euronews:

“Well I have been in the European Council now for more than six years, and there are always differences. I think the idea of the European cooperation is that we can respect this and work together.”

“And I saw that Angela Merkel also yesterday said ‘Well, David Cameron has these problems, so these ideas for Europe – let’s listen and let’s talk about it,’” Reinfeldt added.

Neelie Kroes, the EU Digital Agenda Commissioner seemed unsurprised by the differences:

“Well, let me start with a positive point, for both leaders that you are mentioning (Merkel and Cameron) are in favour of Europe, and I’m not surprised that with different cultures and in different countries, that they are making a different wish-list what to do,” Kroes said.

Despite being surrounded by mountains, chalets and fresh air, the tranquil setting of Davos might just be hiding a political avalanche.

Euronews correspondent Isabelle Kumar reports:

“Well, some here in Davos argue that the spectre of a referendum in Britain brings yet more uncertainty. Others fear complacency and welcome the chance to renegotiate a more competitive view.”