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New head of European conservatives dismisses Cameron's EU demands

Published on Jun 7, 2014 11:04 PM

BERLIN (REUTERS) - The new head of the biggest group of conservatives in the European Parliament dismissed on Saturday demands by British Prime Minister David Cameron to put the brakes on European integration.

Manfred Weber, the new chairman of the European People's Party (EPP), also told a German paper that the group still backed its candidate Jean-Claude Juncker to be the next Commission president despite opposition from Britain. "The EU is based on an ever closer union of European peoples. That is set out in the treaties. It is not negotiable for us," Mr Weber told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. "

We cannot sell the soul of Europe," he added, also rejecting any demands to let national parliaments win rights to stop European laws. "If we grant every national parliament a veto right, Europe would come to a standstill," he said.

Mr Cameron, under pressure from anti-EU hardliners in his own Conservative party and in the UK Independence Party (UKIP), has agreed to hold a referendum in 2017 on whether his country stays in the EU. His party is not in the EPP.

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