Cameron vows safeguard at EU summit

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Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to protect Britain while keeping it within the EU framework // Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to protect Britain while keeping it within the EU framework
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to protect Britain while keeping it within the EU framework
David Cameron has warned fellow European leaders that he would not accept any reduction in Britain's European Union (EU) rebate.
On the opening day of a European summit, the Prime Minister launched a pre-emptive strike to defend the reduction in the UK's contribution won by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
The main focus of the gathering in Brussels is an ambitious long-term plan by senior EU officials to resolve the problems of the eurozone involving a significant pooling of powers by the 17 members of the single currency bloc.
However, Mr Cameron used a preliminary discussion on the next EU budget for the period 2014-20 to make clear that the £3 billion annual rebate would not be on the table. A UK official said: "That is not an issue we are willing to negotiate on. We think that as we go into this process it is important people have absolute clarity about our position."
The warning came as officials sought to damp down the prospects for progress at the summit after German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande failed to bridge their differences over the way forward for the eurozone.
The long-term plans on the table call for a banking union, a fiscal union and - ultimately - a political union for the eurozone to shore up EU integration. However, officials stressed the document was only circulated late on Monday and would need a lot of further work and discussion.
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