European Council President, Donald Tusk, has promptly reacted to the re-election of David Cameron saying that he wants him to make the case for EU membership. Mr Tusk commented that he was “deeply convinced that there is no better life outside the European Union, for any country”. He further added that he counted on the new British government to continue UK’s membership in the EU while stressing that “a better EU is in the interest not only of Britain but of every Member State.”
David Cameron had pledged earlier that he would hold a referendum on the UK membership in the block in 2017. European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that he was “looking forward to meeting Mr Cameron soon”. A statement from his office confirmed that the Commission would carefully examine the British proposal but reminded that the EU’s key principles – such as the freedom of movement – were “non-negotiable”. French President Francois Hollande invited Prime Minister Cameron for negotiations in Paris on both EU and international issues.
According to Mr Cameron’s script for referendum, he must now conduct a tour of European capitals to discuss the UK’s relationship with the block. Although few think that such a tour will yield any tangible results, European leaders now have to face the fact that a UK referendum is a reality, not a possibility. While a change in the whole EU treaty is highly unlikely, London will be likely seeking to negotiate a few concessions, such as amendments to voting rights or immigration rules. Moreover, if problems with Greece persist or if the country were to leave the eurozone, this could further boost the negotiating power of Britain’s newly elected Prime Minister.