Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

France's new frontman, America's absent center, May's Brexit gambit, Saudi royal reshuffle, after Mosul & Raqqa fall

Read more

REVISITED

Senegal’s Casamance hopes for new era of peace

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

FARC disarmament a 'historic day' for Colombia, says president

Read more

FASHION

Cruise collections: All aboard for Dior and Chanel's latest fashions

Read more

ENCORE!

Colombia comes to France

Read more

#THE 51%

The last taboo: Helping women and girls. Period.

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Who benefits when the ice caps melt?

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Frustration mounts over state of economy in Nigeria

Read more

FOCUS

Will global warming ruin French wine production?

Read more

Europe

Britain could leave EU, says Jacques Delors

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-12-28

Britain could leave the EU to form “a different sort of partnership,” former EU Commission head Jacques Delors said in an interview with German daily Handelsblatt Friday. Recent opinion polls show most Britons are in favour of leaving the bloc.

Britain could leave the European Union and enter into a different sort of partnership with the political and economic bloc instead, former EU Commission chief Jacques Delors said on Friday.

"The British are solely concerned about their economic interests, nothing else. They could be offered a different form of partnership," Delors told the business daily Handelsblatt in an interview.

Opinion polls increasingly show Britons favour a full exit from the EU, which is widely perceived in Britain as meddling in domestic affairs and wasting money during a time of austerity at home.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is under pressure from "eurosceptics" in his Conservative party, said last month that he still supports British membership of the EU but wants a "new settlement" that involves winning opt-outs on key issues.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper on Thursday, EU President Herman Van Rompuy warned that such proposals could cause the EU to unravel.

Delors was conciliatory, however.

"If the British cannot support the trend towards more integration in Europe, we can nevertheless remain friends, but on a different basis," the French former minister said.

"I could imagine a form such as a European economic area or a free trade agreement," Delors suggested.

Britain was "strategically and economically important," and should remain "a privileged partner," he insisted.

Van Rompuy said a British departure from the EU would be like seeing "a friend walk off into the desert".

"Britain's contribution is greater, I think, than it sometimes realises itself," he said.

Britain joined the EU in 1973.

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-12-28

  • FRENCH ECONOMY

    France to slip behind UK in GDP ranking, study says

    Read more

  • EUROPE

    EU delays decision on ‘solidarity fund’ until mid-2014

    Read more

  • EUROPE

    EU nations agree to eurozone banking union

    Read more

COMMENT(S)