Lidington: Britons must feel comfortable with EU
The Government must develop a relationship with the EU that the British people "feel comfortable with", the Europe Minister has said.
In an interview with the Guardian, David Lidington rejected claims by Herman Van Rompuy that the UK risks walking off "into the desert", saying every member state "has its own interests".
The European Council president yesterday warned the UK against "cherry-picking" policies, claiming the single market would unravel if the trend continues.
But Mr Lidington told the paper: "I give a certain amount of short shrift to some of the charges of cherry picking. I say: 'Hang on, why is it that we have a single market in services that is very far from complete? Why no single market in transport yet?"
The Conservative minister said that while Britain "could survive" outside the EU, such a move now would "not be the best outcome".
"We need a settlement that enables the British people to feel comfortable with membership of the EU," he added.
"There are lots of ideas around, and the reality is that every member state has its own interests and tries to promote those within the context of European business.
"We need to continue to push very hard for the greater liberalisation that will rebuild prosperity and competitiveness, not just in Britain but throughout Europe, and keep Europe facing out to the rest of the world and not become introverted and protectionist."