Britain's EU renegotiation process is officially underway, as chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne made his first post-General Election trip to Brussels yesterday.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers, Osborne said he went to Brussels “with a very clear mandate to improve Britain’s relationship with the rest of the European Union, and to reform the European Union so that it creates jobs and increases living standards for all its citizens.”
But later in the day, the Latvian finance minister, who chaired the meeting, said that Osborne did not formally raise any issues relating to EU renegotiation during the talks. Instead, a source close to the negotiations told City A.M. that while the chancellor did not have formal one-on-one meetings with ministers, he still used the opportunity to chat with key players such as German and French finance ministers Wolfgang Schauble and Michel Sapin. Both ministers said yesterday they were open to reform, but Sapin added that negotiation talks would need to wait until the Greek debt crisis is resolved.