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UK ‘walking into desert’, European Union president Herman Van Rompuy warns


Nigen Morris

Thursday, 27 December 2012

European Union president Herman Van Rompuy tonight warned that David Cameron’s attempts to return powers to Britain are doomed – as he said the UK’s exit from the union would see a “friend walk off into the desert”.

In a strongly-worded intervention, the President of the European Council warned that the Prime Minister’s bullish stance could trigger the collapse of the European Union and the single market and inflict deep damage on Britain.

He spoke ahead of a major speech next month by Mr Cameron in which he will lay out Conservative strategy on the EU. He is expected to promise that the party’s next general election manifesto will contain a pledge to hold a referendum on repatriating some powers from Brussels.

But Mr Van Rompuy said: “If every member state were able to cherry-pick those parts of existing policies that they most like, and opt out of those that they least like, the union in general, and the single market in particular, would soon unravel.”

He added: “All member states can, and do, have particular requests and needs that are always taken into consideration… I do not expect any member state to seek to undermine the fundamentals of our  co-operative system.”

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