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French president warns over Cameron's EU plans

Published on Feb 1, 2014 12:32 AM

(AFP) - French President Francois Hollande dealt a blow Friday to Prime Minister David Cameron's hopes of renegotiating Britain's membership of the EU before a referendum in 2017, saying treaty change was "not a priority".

At an Anglo-French summit held at an airbase in Oxfordshire, west of London, Mr Hollande indicated he might be open to treaty change in the future to ensure the eurozone was "better coordinated".

But on the wider issue of reform, he said: "We feel that revising the treaty is not a priority for the time being." Under pressure from eurosceptics in his Conservative party, Mr Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain's position in the EU and put the new deal to a referendum after the next election in 2015.

Mr Hollande told a joint press conference that he "perfectly respected" Britain's right to hold a vote, but said: "We can't impose the British choice on Europe." Mr Cameron said he remained optimistic of achieving the changes he wanted and insisted the vote would go ahead, provided he is re-elected next year.

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