Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

‘Mexico will not finance US wall,’ foreign minister says

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

African nations need to prepare for potential return of thousands of jihadists

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo former child soldiers awarded $10 mn in damages in landmark ruling

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Website roots out "Rotten Apples"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Putin's press conference, Alabama election, One Planet Summit, Brexit Phase II, Disney & Fox

Read more

#TECH 24

WorldRemit: Helping migrant workers send money back home

Read more

FOCUS

The challenges awaiting the new leader of South Africa's ANC

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Bangladeshi PM calls violence in Myanmar 'unacceptable'

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

Read more

Africa

President Obama calls on Britain to stay in the EU

© AFP archive

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2015-07-24

US President Barack Obama said he wants Britain to stay in the European Union and help maintain the post-war transatlantic partnership, prompting angry responses from Eurosceptic lawmakers in London.

“Having the United Kingdom in the European Union gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union,” Obama said in an interview with the BBC late on Thursday, adding that Britain’s membership of the EU had helped make the world a safer and more prosperous place since World War Two.

“We want to make sure that the United Kingdom continues to have that influence,” he said. “Because we believe that the values that we share are the right ones, not just for ourselves, but for Europe as a whole and the world as a whole.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking reforms to Britain’s ties with the EU ahead of a membership referendum by the end of 2017, a bid to appease Eurosceptic voters and lawmakers within his own party.

He has said he wants the United Kingdom to stay in a reformed EU, but has ruled nothing out if his renegotiation is unsuccessful.

Obama has previously said it was hard for him to imagine the European project working without Britain or Britain prospering outside the union.

His latest intervention in the debate over a possible British exit from the bloc angered some politicians.

Obama "wrong"

“President Obama is wrong about the UK and the EU,” John Redwood, a lawmaker from Cameron’s Conservative Party, said on his website. He accused Obama of lecturing Britain.

“If letting foreign countries impose laws on you, levy taxes on you, and spend your money is such a good idea why doesn’t he create an American Union so Mexico can have common borders with the US?” he said.

The opposition Labour Party, which wants Britain to remain in the EU, also seized on Obama’s remarks, saying Cameron’s “weakness and indecision are putting our country’s future international influence and prosperity at risk”.

Cameron’s planned EU vote and British cuts to military spending in recent years have caused concern in Washington. But in the same interview, Obama congratulated the government on committing to NATO’s defence spending pledge of two percent of GDP for the next five years.

The United States is Britain’s second biggest trading partner behind the EU and has been its closest military ally for more than a century.

Cameron’s office defended the decision to hold a referendum.

“It’s right for Britain to have this renegotiation and this referendum to address the concerns that the British people have about Europe and to make sure the British people have the final say about whether we stay in a reformed European Union or leave,” a source from his office said.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2015-07-24

  • UNITED KINGDOM

    UK lawmakers back EU referendum plans but splits emerge

    Read more

  • UNITED KINGDOM

    Cameron’s EU referendum promise stirs fears of ‘Brexit’

    Read more

  • UK

    UK’s Cameron promises Britons EU referendum

    Read more

COMMENT(S)