Cameron’s EU speech: what he said and what he meant

Prime Minister David Cameron making his speech on Europe. Picture: PA
Prime Minister David Cameron making his speech on Europe. Picture: PA
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DAVID Cameron today announced that a referendum would be held on the UK’s continued membership of the EU in 2017.

The Prime Minister also announced his intention to lobby for Britain’s membership of the governing body to be redrawn.

He warned that if agreement on renegotiation could not be reached then he would back the campaign for Britain’s removal for Europe in the referendum.

Here we look at what he said in his speech and what he actually meant:

He said: If we don’t address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit.

He meant: Please other European heads of government cut me some slack and help me keep the UK in the EU.

He said: Democratic consent for the EU in Britain is now wafer thin.

He meant: Nobody under the age of 55 has had a chance to vote for EU membership and even those who did voted for something completely different. Now 56 per cent of the population, according to the latest poll, want out.

He said: I agree with President Barroso.

He meant: On very little.

He said: In a global race can we really justify the huge number of expensive peripheral European institutions?

He meant: No we can’t and the EU has to downsize or the UK will get out.

He said: These should be the tasks [helping entrepreneurs and business growth] that get European officials up in the morning and keep them working late into the night.

He meant: EU officials are overpaid and nobody believes they do anything except dine out at the taxpayers expense and make up new rules to make life even more difficult.

He said: The biggest danger to the EU comes not from those who advocate change but denounce new thinking as heresy.

He meant: The status quo is not an option.

He said: I know that the United Kingdom is sometimes seen as an argumentative and rather strong-minded member of the family of European nations.

He meant: The rest of the EU are fed up with Britain moaning about the organisation, its rules and everything and wish the UK would decide whether it wants to be a proper member or not.

He said: As Chancellor Merkel has said - if Europe today accounts for just over 7 per cent of the world’s population, produces around 25 per cent of global GDP and has to finance 50 per cent of global social spending, then it’s obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life.

He meant: Europe is heading towards a diaster because it is living well beyond its means and cannot compete properly.

He said: They [the British people] see what has happened to the Euro. And they note that many of our political and business leaders urged Britain to join at the time.

He meant: The political and business elite in the UK has for a long time been out of step with British public opinion on the EU.