UK's Cameron to demand opt-out of EU employment laws - media

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 11, 2015 4:50 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron wants Britain to be able to opt out of some EU employment legislation as part of his renegotiation with Brussels, media reports said on Saturday.

Cameron has embarked on a drive to renegotiate the country's relationship with the EU on issues such as welfare, migration and competitiveness before holding an in/out referendum before the end of 2017.

On Saturday the Telegraph and Times newspapers said, as part of the talks, Cameron would call for the right to control Britain's employment laws, including rules on working time limits and equal rights for temporary workers.

"This is just more of the speculation we said there would be during the negotiation," a spokeswoman for Cameron's Downing Street office said.

"The prime minister has ... made clear that cutting back on unnecessary EU regulation is part of making Europe more competitive."

Cameron's bid to reshape Britain's relationship with Europe has so far focused mainly on limiting welfare benefits for migrants, leaving some eurosceptic members of his party to complain that the prime minister was not being ambitious enough in his demands.

Britain had previously secured the right to opt out of some legislation covering social and employment rules, but this was given up by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The opposition Labour party, which is generally more pro-European, said the mooted demands appeared to be aimed at keeping Cameron's Conservative Party happy, rather than improving Britain's relationship with the EU.

"Tearing up rights at work is no basis for winning support to stay in a reformed EU, which is what the prime minister claims is his objective," said Pat McFadden, Labour's spokesman for Europe.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Pravin Char)