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Cameron promises engagement with Europe but warns of crucial red lines

City A.M. Reporter
DAVID Cameron was all smiles when he began his first European Union summit as Britain’s Prime Minister yesterday?– but he warned other members not to cross Britain’s “red lines”.

Cameron said he and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso were closely aligned.

“What he [Barroso] has just said about the importance of getting our public finances in order, that there can be no growth without confidence, and that getting our public finances in order is key to confidence, is absolutely right,” he said.

“And I very much agree with what he has just said, that we should be focusing on the issues of substance and not on institutional reform. That was music to my ears.”

But despite the display of unity, Britain could face a battle to get its way on issues such as financial market reform, on oversight of its budget and ensuring that the push for closer economic cooperation does not involve the 16 Eurozone countries alone, but all 27 EU member states.

Cameron, whose Conservative party has had to temper some of its traditional Euro-scepticism as part of a coalition government with the more pro-European Liberal Democrats, said Britain would be vigorous in defending its position in the EU.

“You’ll see Britain playing a very positive, a very engaged, a very active role in the European Union and at this [summit],” he said.

“We of course always defend our national interests as others do, and our national red lines. But we know how important it is that there is in Europe growth and confidence.

Over the past month, the coalition government has steered a central course, staying on good terms with Brussels.