The Straits Times
Published on Jan 24, 2013

Cameron wins little sympathy in Europe for EU stand


BRUSSELS (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron's call for a new deal to keep Britain inside the European Union won little support on Wednesday as fellow leaders, mindful of the potential fallout, warned against "a la carte" union.

"We can't have Europe a la carte," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. "Imagine the EU was a football club: Once you've joined up and you're in this club, you can't then say you want to play rugby."

Mr Fabius's boss, French President Francois Hollande, said it was not possible to negotiate Britain's membership terms.

"The United Kingdom can perfectly well decide in a referendum to stay in or leave the European Union, that's a decision for the rulers of the country and the British people themselves," Mr Hollande told reporters.