UK Politics

David Cameron wants European Union reformer legacy

David Cameron at World Economic Forum
Image caption David Cameron said reform was in both the UK's and the rest of Europe's interests

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants to be remembered as the person who secured Britain's place in a reformed European Union.

Mr Cameron told CNN that the EU often went too far in social, employment and environmental legislation.

It follows his promise of a referendum on UK membership if the Conservatives win the next general election.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats warned the move could create uncertainty for business.

'Right way forward'

The prime minister said he was not putting a list of demands on the table and planning to storm off if they were not met.

He said: "I hope I'll be remembered as someone who did everything they could to get the British economy back on track, to strengthen Britain's society and Britain's place in the world, and to secure Britain's place in a reformed European Union.

"I think that is what I want to achieve - this is the right way forward for Britain. It's in our national interest; it's also in Europe's interest too.

He added: "There is obviously a huge amount of work in the years ahead, but I feel very confident and positive that having set out a plan - explain to the world, to our European partners, to the British people, British business - everyone can see there is a plan to change Europe for the better, and to secure Britain's place in it."

Turning to the US economy, Mr Cameron said America's deficit would have to be brought down over time, with difficult decisions taken.

Defended choice

The interview came as Mr Cameron was in Davos for the World Economic Forum.

He told world leaders there that countries must work together to clamp down on tax avoidance.

"Individuals and businesses must pay their fair share," he said in his speech.

He also defended his choice to offer UK voters a referendum on EU membership after 2015 if the Conservatives win the next election, and said the 27-member bloc needed to change.

"Europe is being out-competed, out-invested and out-innovated," he said.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said the UK risks "tying itself in knots" and neglecting more important issues by trying to renegotiate its EU membership.

The coalition deputy prime minister said it was "wholly implausible" to think the rules could be rewritten to "benefit us and disadvantage everybody else".

Labour has also said it does not support Mr Cameron's plans for a referendum.

Party leader Ed Miliband said the prime minister had promised the poll because he was "frightened" of his backbenchers and had "given in" to his party.

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