By Marcus Leach
David Cameron has said that Britain has always been a European power and always will be, at his speech on Britain and Europe at Bloomberg's European office in central London.
The Prime Minister, addressing business leaders and journalists, stressed that we [Britain] would not simply retreat from the world, but at the same time he wants a better deal, for both Britain and Europe.
"The crucial point about Britain is that Britain is characterised by not just its independence but by its openness," he said. "We will not pull up the drawbridge add retreat from the world. I want a better deal for Britain and a better deal for Europe too.
"I want the European Union to be a success and I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it."
However, he went on to state that the UK will not join the single European currency and therefore not become part of the eurozone. He went on to lay out his vision for the future of the EU, built on five key principles.
The first of his principles is competitiveness. He told tyhe audience he wants to see a "a leaner, less bureaucratic union" with fewer departments. Second was flexibility, as he said "the EU must be able to act with the speed and flexibility of a network, not the cumbersome rigidity of a bloc."
"We are a family of democratic nations whose essential foundation is the single market rather than the single currency. Those of us outside the euro recognise that those in it are likely to need to make some big institutional changes."
Cameron's third principle concerns the flow of power between EU member states. "Countries are different. They make different choices. We cannot harmonise everything," he said.
The fourth principle the he outlined was "democratic accountability". He said "it is national parliaments, which are, and will remain, the true source of real democratic legitimacy and accountability in the EU."
"Simply asking the British people to carry on accepting a European settlement over which they have had little choice is a path to ensuring that when the question is finally put, it is much more likely that the British people will reject the EU."
Cameron's fifth and final principle was fairness.
"So it is a vital interest for us to protect the integrity and fairness of the single market for all its members," he said. "It is wrong to ask people whether to stay or go before we have had a chance to put the relationship right.
"We need to allow some time for that to happen - and help to shape the future of the European Union, so that when the choice comes it will be a real one.
"It is time for us to settle this question about Europe.
"When we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in-or-out choice. To stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether.
"I say to the British people: this will be your decision. If we left the European Union, it would be a one-way ticket, not a return.
"Over the coming weeks, months and years, I will not rest until this debate is won. For the future of my country. For the success of the European Union. And for the prosperity of our peoples for generations to come."
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