U.K., France Disagree Over E.U. Reform

David Cameron and Francois Hollande have differing priorities for E.U. reform. Hollande says the focus should be on overcoming economic challenges.

U.K., France Disagree Over E.U. Reform
Wikimedia Commons / Guillaume Paumier, Matthieu Riegler

​British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande are butting heads over how to reform the European Union. The pair spoke at a UK-France summit aimed at strengthening defense and energy cooperation.

The BBC reports Cameron insisted on renegotiating the UK's membership in the EU by 2017 if he were to win a second term. The changes would give the UK more power over immigration, welfare, and justice within its own borders.

CAMERON: "Britain wants change in Europe ... to make Europe more competitive, more flexible, better able to succeed in this global race, but also changes that Britain wants to see." (Via The Telegraph)

In order to renegotiate the membership, changes would have to be made to existing treaties, which requires approval from the rest of the EU. But the two leaders have very differing views on where to focus reform efforts.

According to The Telegraph, Hollande says the UK's desires are not urgent and the whole union should not be expected to change for the benefit of one country.

Hollande explains he would be open to a treaty change in the future, but present focus should shift toward overcoming Europe's economic challenges. (Via Bloomberg)

The Guardian reports Hollande's economic policies took some heat when a chairman for one of the UK's conservative parties criticized them — claiming they are destroying France's economy.

Although their politics don't jibe, Cameron and Hollande did agree on some things including defense, security and the civil nuclear and space sectors.