British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday the United Kingdom would have a vote on whether to stay in the European Union before 2017.
"It is time for the British people to have their say," he said. "It is time for us to settle this question about Britain and Europe."
He expressed concern that frustration with policies envisioned or enacted by EU leaders was growing 40 years after London joined the European community.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said Cameron's speech was unlikely to impress any of London's partners in the European community. The announcement, he said, was part of a "dangerous game" Cameron was playing from domestic reasons.
Elections are scheduled for Britain in 2015.
"In a globalized world, it is not in the U.K.'s interest to seek to downgrade to some kind of 'second class' EU membership and so choose to weaken its own influence on European and global affairs," Schulz said in a statement.
Cameron said that while he advocated a vote on the issue, he wasn't necessarily supporting a clean break from the European Union.
"I never want us to pull up the drawbridge and retreat from the world," he said. "I am not a British isolationist."