Cameron optimistic on reaching EU deal to prevent 'Brexit'

Cameron says he is confident of reaching deal with EU members to avoid Britain's exit from European Union

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) gestures as he talks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Hamburg's Mayor Olaf Scholz (C) after his speech during the traditional historic banquet "Matthiae-Mahlzeit" in Hamburg February 26, 2016.

British Prime Minister David Cameron voiced his optimism on Friday for a deal that could be reached allowing the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union.

"When it comes to the question of Britain's place in Europe, I have always been confident that together we can secure the reforms that address Britain's concerns and also work for Europe as a whole,” Cameron told a banquet in the German city of Hamburg, where he was guest of honour along with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Conservatives of the UK issued a referendum act in 2015 for the holding of a referendum in the UK and Gibraltar not later by the end of 2017 on whether Britain should exit the EU, a process also dubbed as “Brexit”.

The UK and EU members especially Germany are working on a deal to keep the country in the Union.

Britain has "always been a country that reaches out," Cameron said, adding "And I never want us to pull up the drawbridge and retreat from the world.”

"So when it comes to the question of Britain's future in Europe, my aim is clear: I want to keep Britain inside a reformed European Union."

Cameron aims to reach a deal and negotiate with EU members before referendum date comes.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during the traditional historic banquet "Matthiae-Mahlzeit" (St. Matthew's Day Banquet) at the town hall in Hamburg February 12, 2016 / Photo by Reuters

The British prime minister knows that he needs to secure terms at least as good as those emphasized by the European Council President Donald Tusk last week for a successful renegotiation.

"If by working together we can achieve these changes, then I will unequivocally recommend that Britain stays in a reformed European Union on these new terms," he said.

Cameron must convince the other 27 EU members to back the controversial reform proposals at a leaders’ summit in Brussels on February 18-19.

If a deal is not reached with EU "then I rule nothing out. But I believe we can and if we do, I believe we can win that referendum and that will be good for Britain, good for Germany and good for the whole of Europe,” said Cameron.

Chancellor Merkel said that she wishes UK to remain in the Union and that would be not only Germany’s but also Britain’s interest.

"My wish is that the United Kingdom is and remains an active member of a successful European Union," she said.

The banquet's host, Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz, said Britain was "irreplaceable" in European foreign and defence policy.

"And from an economic point of view, too... we can't and won't do without London," he added.

Britain needed to show "pragmatism and courage... and their ability to compromise," said Scholz.

Drawing an analogy to football, Scholz said that "the British alone will decide what the result will be, whether the ball is in or out. And this time, we're all hoping the decision will be: In."

TRTWorld and agencies