David Cameron to urge business support for EU renegotiation
Prime Minister David Cameron is to urge business leaders to back the UK staying in a reformed European Union, in a speech at the World Economic Forum.
Mr Cameron will hold discussions with political and corporate leaders at the annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland.
He then hopes to finalise a package of reforms at an EU summit next month.
Downing Street said a cabinet meeting would be held "soon after" any deal – following concerns a delay could assist the campaign to remain in the EU.
Some ministers had raised concerns that a delay to holding a cabinet meeting would give Mr Cameron the opportunity to set out his case for the deal without being challenged.
However, Number 10 said a cabinet meeting would be held "in good order" after any agreement, but said it could not guarantee a day or time.
A referendum on the UK's membership of the EU is due to take place before the end of 2017, but the exact timing of it will hinge on the outcome of Mr Cameron's renegotiation talks.
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Mr Cameron will use a speech during his three-day trip to Davos to move the focus away from benefit curbs on EU migrant workers on to efforts to cut Brussels red tape – another of the four stated aims of his renegotiation.
His official spokeswoman said he would remind business leaders that "many of the reforms we are seeking are things that they have called for" in terms of improving competitiveness.
"How do we make sure that the EU – which we joined for the single market benefits and the benefits to business – continues to work for them and, indeed, work better for them," she said.
Mr Cameron's discussions in Davos are also likely to focus on the growing migrant crisis, with the UK vowing to oppose any move to axe rules requiring refugees to claim asylum in the first EU country they enter.
EU member states have been warned the Schengen passport-free travel zone will collapse if action is not agreed within two months as 2,000 migrants are still arriving daily.
Scrapping the so-called Dublin regulation is among ideas being floated.
The prime minister will attempt to garner support for initiatives to create economic opportunities for Syrian migrants in neighbouring countries such as Jordan to lessen the draw of seeking a new life in Europe.
It comes ahead of a conference on Syria being staged in London next month.
David Cameron's four main aims for renegotiation
- Economic governance: Securing an explicit recognition that the euro is not the only currency of the European Union, to ensure countries outside the eurozone are not disadvantaged. The UK wants safeguards that it will not have to contribute to eurozone bailouts
- Competitiveness: Setting a target for the reduction of the "burden" of excessive regulation and extending the single market
- Immigration: Restricting access to in-work and out-of-work benefits to EU migrants. Specifically, ministers want to stop those coming to the UK from claiming certain benefits until they have been resident for four years
- Sovereignty: Allowing Britain to opt out from further political integration. Giving greater powers to national parliaments to block EU legislation
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