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France cool on deadline for EU reforms

Jan. 31, 2014 at 2:33 PM

LONDON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande said Friday that Great Britain's proposal to reform the European Union would require a public vote in France.

Hollande told reporters major changes to the EU rules could not be dictated by any individual nation, and added that changes to the treaty on EU membership were not a high priority of his government.

"When you are dealing with major changes ... we had to have a referendum," Hollande said. "So everybody has to assess what procedures exist. We can't just expect to follow the example of one country in Europe in order to determine the rest."

Hollande's lukewarm response to Britain's proposal was seen as pushback against London and the government of Prime Minister David Cameron. The British newspaper the Guardian said the meeting this week between the two leaders at a British air base was "one of the frostiest U.K.-French summits in years.

Cameron insisted Friday he remained committed to a referendum in Britain on the proposed EU reforms in 2017.

"Clearly there will be further treaty changes coming," he said.

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