Chancellor tells Germany ‘ever closer union is not right for us’

George Osborne
George Osborne
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FADING belief in political integration accounts for the strain between Britain and Europe, Chancellor George Osborne will say today as he sets out his vision for the union’s future.

As Mr Osborne delivers a speech in the German capital Berlin at the country’s annual industrial conference, BDI, he is expected to say there is little support among British voters for ever closer ties with European counterparts.

The Chancellor’s frank remarks are an indicator of the tone the British Government is taking as it prepares to renegotiate with the EU ahead of the country’s in-out referendum in 2017.

The Chancellor will say today: “We want Britain to remain in a reformed European Union, but it needs to be a European Union that works better for all the citizens of Europe – and works better for Britain, too. It needs to be a Europe where we are not part of that ever closer union you are more comfortable with.

“In the UK, where this is widely interpreted as a commitment to ever-closer political integration, that concept is now supported by a tiny proportion of voters. I believe it is this that is the cause of some of the strains between Britain and our European partners.

“Ever closer union is not right for us any longer.”

He said Britain wants a Europe that supports the integrity of the European Single Market, but that recognises the EU has more than one currency with no discrimination against business on the basis where they reside.

He said non-euro tax payers should never bear the cost of supporting countries in the eurozone.