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Britain likely to opt out of some EU measures

Monday, October 15, 2012    

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LONDON, England (AFP) — Britain is set to announce plans to opt out of a range of European Union (EU) justice and policing measures, including the European arrest warrant, according to newspaper reports yesterday.

Home Secretary Theresa May was expected today to confirm the Government's plans to exercise its right to opt out of various EU measures before they come into force in 2014, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Both newspapers said the coalition Government would then seek to renegotiate to opt back into certain measures which it felt were in the national interest.

They added that the Government was particularly keen to avoid signing up to a Europe-wide public prosecutor and the European arrest warrant.

May was due to address lawmakers today, when Parliament reopens for business following the political party conference season.

British Prime Minister David Cameron stated his opposition to certain measures last month.

Questioned in September about using the EU opt-out on justice and policing, he told the BBC: "That has to be done by the end of the year. The opt-out is there, we will be exercising that opt-out.

"The key thing then is which of the array of things you can come out of do you actually think are good for Britain and you want to co-operate with European partners on, and that is the discussion we are having at the moment."

Cameron is meanwhile under pressure from eurosceptic right-wingers in his Conservative party to hold a referendum on whether Britain should change its relationship with the EU, or pull out altogether.

Earlier this month, Cameron threatened to veto the new European Union budget in a show of tough talking at the Conservative party's annual conference.

The Conservatives lead a coalition Government with junior partners the Liberal Democrats, who are widely regarded as being more pro-Europe.

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