Cameron reveals 2017 EU referendum

Cameron reveals 2017 EU referendum

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to hold an in/out referendum on EU membership, should the Conservatives win at the next general election.

Speaking at the House of Commons on Wednesday, David Cameron said he wants to negotiate a better deal for the UK within the European Union before any poll is held.

It is anticipated that the referendum on the future within the union will be hled before the end of 2017.

"The fact is we are not comfortable with the state of our membership today, it does need to change," he said.

"I'm setting out the path for how we change that, how we put that to the British people and in the end they will decide."

Northern Ireland has received millions of pounds of peace funding from Europe and membership within the EU has benefited its export market, representing around £2.5bn to the local economy.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in NI believe retaining a firm link with the EU is key to economic growth in the region.

"Having access to free trade of services and goods is critically important to Northern Ireland," said Nigel Smyth from CBI.

"If Northern Ireland is going to grow, it's got to be through exports. It's fair to say some of those exports need to be further afield than Europe. But Europe is such a big part of the economy it is critical we are a part of that."

Draft legislation will be drawn up by the Conservative Party ahead of the election, and will be enacted by the end of 2015 if Tories win to pave the way for renegotiation and referendum within the next two years, he said.

"It is time for the British people to have their say," Mr Cameron said.

"It is time to settle this European question in British politics."


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