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The Prime Minister is attempting to achieve party unity through the device of policy obscurity over EU membership, the shadow foreign secretary has said, after David Cameron for the first time set out his key priorities for change in a seven-point plan.
Douglas Alexander said: "The gap between what Tory backbenchers will accept, and what other European leaders will consider, remains unbridgeable."
"David Cameron's latest article leaves us little the wiser about what reforms he actually wants in Europe or how he plans to deliver change", he said.
"Labour has set out a different approach. We are clear that Europe must work better for Britain, and this week Ed Miliband set out real and specific reforms to achieve that."
David Cameron has for the first time set out his key priorities for change in a seven-point plan - backing his commitment to renegotiating the terms of Britain's membership then putting the results to the country in a straight in/out referendum by the end of 2017.They are:
- Powers flowing away from Brussels, not always to it
- National parliaments able to work together to block unwanted European legislation
- Businesses liberated from red tape and benefiting from the strength of the EU's own market to open up greater free trade with North America and Asia
- UK police forces and justice systems able to protect British citizens, unencumbered by unnecessary interference from the European institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights
- Free movement to take up work, not free benefits
- Support for the continued enlargement of the EU to new members but with new mechanisms in place to prevent vast migrations across the continent
- Ensuring Britain is no longer subject to the concept of "ever closer union", enshrined in the treaty, to which every EU country currently has to sign up
The Prime Minister is to demand that Britain is no longer bound by the commitment to an "ever closer union" in Europe as part of his renegotiation of the UK's membership of the EU.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, David Cameron said he is determined to tackle fears that Britain could be "sucked into" a United States of Europe against its will, claiming the concerns have seen democratic consent for its membership "worn wafer thin".
Mr Cameron is committed to renegotiating the terms of Britain's membership then putting the results to the country in a straight in/out referendum by the end of 2017.