Britain's Finance Minister says that the new British government will be constructive but firm in its negotiations to reform the EU before a referendum to determine his country's future in the European Union. But as David Pollard reports, it may not be that easy.
A new UK government, with a mandate to get a new deal on Europe. British finance minister, George Osborne, still basking in his Conservative Party's election win, was in Brussels to press for 'renegotiation'. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER, GEORGE OSBORNE, SAYING: ''I don't think anyone is now in any doubt, we will hold that referendum on British membership of the European Union, having conducted these negotiations. We go into the negotiations aiming to be constructive and engaged, but also resolute and firm.'' A referendum is pencilled for 2017. German and French elections that year have led to speculation about it moving forward to avoid a clash. Though Osborne and his boss, David Cameron, have, potentially, a long list of demands to get through first. Raoul Ruparel of the Open Europe think tank. SOUNDBITE (English) RAOUL RUPAREL, HEAD OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH, OPEN EUROPE, SAYING: ''We know he wants to possibly have a red card for national parliaments to block some EU legislation, we know he wants safeguards for non-euro zone states as the euro zone integrates more closely, we know he wants a deal on access to benefits for EU migrants, and we know he wants something on reducing the EU budget.'' The price the EU would pay if it doesn't make concessions: the UK government would, it's been hinted, campaign for a 'NO' to staying in Europe. A possible UK exit from the EU - or 'Brexit' - a prospect that scares even Germany. And other member states are said to support the UK on other issues - such as reform of EU institutions. Where there's little or no support is on the biggest issue on the list: freedom of movement for EU migrants - which could mean treaty changes. Peter Hemington is a partner at advisory firm BDO. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PETER HEMINGTON, PARTNER AT BDO LLP, SAYING: ''This is a big issue, and it's the issue that has quite a lot of popular support, to see some limitation on that. But it's a fundamental principle of the Treaty of Rome and of the EU as a result, and that's going to be a very interesting dichotomy for Cameron to resolve. He's in a very tight spot on that one, I think.'' One that could also put Osborne and Cameron in conflict with the euro-sceptic right wing of their own party. Something they know from their own party's history could lead to a potentially fatal split.