Osborne to talk up EU reform campaign during whistlestop tour

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne
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George Osborne will tell European leaders that Britain’s bid to reform the EU will also benefit their nations during a whistlestop tour of capital cities.

The Chancellor is visiting Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen to build support for the UK’s demands for a new settlement in Brussels.

During meetings with Sweden’s prime minister Stefan Lofven and Denmark’s premier Lars Lokke Rasmussen, as well as foreign and finance ministers, he will warn that reform is key to the future of the EU.

Mr Osborne will also argue that a wave of public support change across Europe makes it the right time to act.

David Cameron has promised to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU ahead of an in/out referendum and talks have begun between British officials and counterparts in Brussels.

The Prime Minister wants any deal to ensure national parliaments retain power and stop welfare incentives from attracting people to the country from across Europe.

Mr Osborne’s talks will focus on expanding trade with burgeoning economies as well as protecting the rights of non-eurozone countries as the single currency block continues to integrate further.

But the Chancellor is also keen to show that reforms can be achieved in Brussels if Britain and like-minded countries work together and will point to cuts secured in the EU budget in 2012.

Mr Osborne will also carry out a series of media interviews in the capital cities as he attempts to win over wider support in Europe.

It comes after he took centre stage in the drive to overhaul the EU by launching a diplomatic tour that began with two days of talks in Paris last month.

The latest visit is one of a series of meetings he will hold in Europe over the next few months to build on the whirlwind round of discussions Mr Cameron held with counterparts following the Tory general election victory.