» Thursday, June 9, 2005

EU Referendum

Asked for further information on the discussion of Europe at Cabinet today, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) explained that it was a review of the Dutch and French referendum results and a preview of how we would approach the Council meeting next week. The Prime Minister emphasised again that the way forward had to be decided by all twenty five countries, and not by any one individual country. He also underlined why we had taken the position we had, and why we believed this was a period for serious reflection on behalf of all Europe.

Asked if the Prime Minister would "put pressure" on the Danish Prime Minister today to cancel the referendum, which Prime Minister Rasmussen had said he would carry out in September, and also, was there expected to be a deal on the rebate at next week’s meeting, the PMOS said that as the Prime Minister’s view had been that each country had to make its own decision about how it approached Europe, it would entirely go against this approach if the Prime Minister put pressure on the Danes to adopt a particular stance. What the Prime Minister was much more interested in doing was discussing two things: first, of course, was how we moved forward on the Constitution, and second, how we opened up the debate on how Europe faced the challenge of globalisation in general, and economic reform in particular. Regarding whether there would be a deal on the budget, the PMOS said that it would be better to wait for the discussion with the Council.

Asked if the budget issue had been mentioned in Cabinet today, the PMOS said since the Luxembourg Presidency had said it wanted to discuss at next week’s meeting, so therefore: yes.

Asked for clarification about the timetable of the future finance talks, the PMOS said that there was not an immediate deadline that we had to meet, but if Luxembourg wanted to keep it on the agenda and have a discussion, then that was their right to do so.

Asked what did the Prime Minister hope would emerge from the G7/finance meeting, the PMOS replied that he hoped that a deal could be done on debt relief, but people should wait and see.

Asked if the Prime Minister was focusing solely on debt relief now and had given up on increasing aid, the PMOS said the journalist could not have been listening during the Press Conference in the US, or what the Prime Minister had said! Our ambitions remained undiminished, but in terms of discussions, we were still four weeks away from Gleneagles. This was not Gleneagles week.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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