Jan. 16 - Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, is preparing for a much-trailed speech on the country's future in Europe. After the warning from the US about the dangers of leaving the EU does the rest of Europe care whether Britain is in or out? Joanne Nicholson reports
Britain's been in a long-distance relationship with Europe for the past 40 years. And now Prime Minister, David Cameron, is gearing up to try and renew its vows. But he's giving off mixed signals. He says he wants Britain to stay in the EU but he's promised increasingly euro-sceptic voters a referendum - eventually. SOUNDBITE English BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "I don't think it would be right for Britain to have an in/out referendum today because I think we'd be giving the British people a false choice. Millions of people in this country, myself included, want Britain to stay in the European Union but they believe there are chances to negotiate a better relationship. Throughout Europe, countries are looking at forthcoming treaty change and thinking, what can I do to maximise my national interest? That is what the Germans will do, that is what the Spanish will do, that is what the British should do." Cameron wants a new EU "settlement" reclaiming powers from Brussels. He's under pressure over employment, financial services and agriculture and fisheries. But the President of the European Council has warned him he can't 'cherry pick.' Rosa Balfour is an analyst at the European Policy Centre. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST OF THE EUROPEAN POLICY CENTRE, ROSA BALFOUR, SAYING: "He hasn't quite realised yet that in Brussels there is no mood to start renegotiating. We are moving in some areas to closer integration and not to looser integration. So the sort of menu a la carte is not really available for Britain." Many UK business leaders want ties with their biggest trading partner maintained And the United States, Germany and Ireland all say Britain should remain in the EU. They'll all be listening closely to a key speech Cameron is m aking in the Netherlands. The international pressure could persuade him to soften his approach in Europe. But there's a risk he could end up satisfying no-one, including the markets. Britain does have some aces to play. Nick Beecroft - chairman at Saxo Capital Markets - says an EU exit wouldn't be as costly for Britain as it would be symbolic for Europe (SOUNDBITE) English NICK BEECROFT, CHAIRMAN, SAXO CAPITAL MARKETS "I think Europe would care. I think it's a little too easy to say they'd be happy to be rid of this petulant child, and not have Britain causing trouble at summits becuse I think it would be damaging to the European experiment to have one of the largest economies in the world decide to leave so I think there would be concern." But getting the likes of France, Germany or Italy to re-open treaties and accommodate Britain is looking highly unlikely at the moment. And Cameron is caught between pleasing them and the British voters.