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London's mayor calls for EU referendum

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 - 01:38

Dec. 4 - London Mayor Boris Johnson says the euro has been turned into a ''calamitous'' project and that the United Kingdom must renegotiate its relationship with the European Union. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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(ROUGH CUT : NO REPORTER NARRATION) London Mayor Boris Johnson says the British people should be given a referendum on whether to stay in a European Union pared back to the single market only. Speaking at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event in London, Johnson said Britain's relationship with the EU should be renegotiated around a model based on free trade and fewer barriers to business. If achieved, he said, that would allow London to flourish further as a financial centre. Eurozone member states aim to put the European Central Bank in charge of supervising some or all eurozone banks as step one towards a banking union, but Britain wants the ECB's influence curbed so that it does not restrict London's pre-eminence as a financial centre. Johnson, who made his reputation as a correspondent for the right-leaning Daily Telegraph in Brussels, said Britain should look to have a similar relationship with the EU as those enjoyed by Norway and Switzerland. Britain's relations with Europe have shot to the top of the political agenda with rebellious anti-EU members of Prime Minister David Cameron's ruling Conservatives pushing for a new role inside the 27-nation bloc -- or even leaving altogether. Johnson, a Conservative party member seen as a potential rival to Cameron, predicted the euro area would limp on with sclerotic growth rates before possibly blowing up. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAYOR OF LONDON, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "Whilst the predictions of the Eurosceptics have turned out to be entirely correct. The euro is a calamitous project. Exactly as foretold the one-size-fits-all monetary policy has become a lethal engine that simultaneously trebuchets German goods across the euro zone while deepening the misery of the periphery countries whose unit labour costs make it hard for them to compete." "I think it means a change in tactics by HMG, by the government, I don't understand why we continually urge the eurozone countries to go forward with this fiscal and political union when we know in our hearts that it's anti-democratic and therefore intellectually and probably morally wrong." "We should use the opportunity of further Treaty changes - perhaps over the proposed banking union - to convene an Intergovernmental Conference in which we bring Britain's membership of the EU in line with what I think most people want - and what I think most people in this room would probably want which is, boil it down to the single market." "And I think that is a renegotiated Treaty that we could and should put to the vote by the British people. It's hightime that we had a referendum on our membership of the EU, we haven't had one since 1975, and the question is very simple 'do you want to stay in the EU single market - as renegotiated - yes or no?'"

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London's mayor calls for EU referendum

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 - 01:38