Move to make UK 'second class' EU state
Senior EU politicians are set to propose "second-class" EU status for Britain.
The Union of European Federalists will suggest the UK should becomes an 'associate member' of the EU. Associate member status would mean the UK giving up much of its influence in the EU, the group's leader Andrew Duff told the BBC.
"We're now at a point where there ought also to be the option of various formal tiers of membership," he said.
But at home there was a strong pro-European call from the CBI, who said Britain must remain in the centre of the EU.
Director-general John Cridland said it was "essential that we stay at the table to bang the drum for businesses and defend our national interest".
In his new year's message he emphasised the importance of the EU to trade, arguing that "we pack a bigger punch in securing trade deals inside the EU than outside".
However, UKIP leader Nigel Farage dismissed Mr Cridland's remarks, saying the CBI was "utterly discredited".