Selfish, ignorant, dangerous: Europe's anger over Cameron speech
- IPL spot-fixing case: Net widens, police watching 3 more players, other bookies
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Regular wickets keep Sunrisers Hyderabad in the hunt
- Sonia Gandhi, PM Manmohan Singh slam BJP for disrupting Parliament, stalling bills
- IPL spot-fixing: 'Bookie' Vindoo was close to BCCI chief's son-in-law, say cops
- Jessica Lall case: Shayan Munshi to face perjury trial
Mark Verheijen, a lawmaker from Dutch Premier Mark Rutte's Liberal Party which shares Cameron's concerns but does not want an opt-out, called it a "strong speech" with good reform ideas.
But such voices were largely drowned out by those who saw danger for the European project if countries were allowed to demand opt-outs from EU policies they did not like.
Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, said the idea of flexible membership floated by Cameron "sounds fine" but would lead to there being "no Europe at all. Just a mess."
PLAYING WITH FIRE
Even if opinion to Britain were warmer, it is far from clear how it could initiate and successfully pilot a treaty negotiation, EU officials said.
Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and now leader of the liberals in the European Parliament, said the British premier was "playing with fire" by trying to renegotiate EU membership and put it to the vote.
"His speech was full of inconsistencies, displaying a degree of ignorance about how the EU works," said Verhofstadt.
Verhofstadt said granting Britain wholesale opt-outs from common European rules and regulations risked precipitating an unravelling of the EU and its internal market.
The alarm is not confined to Europe. Britain has also been warned by the White House and a host of business leaders that it would lose global influence if it left the EU.
Joseph Nye, a former U.S. defence department official and professor at Harvard, said "Europe with Britain in it is much more powerful and important than without it". President Barack Obama "very much wants Britain to remain in the EU", Nye told a panel at the Davos World Economic Forum.
Among those defending Cameron were Austrian Eurosceptic Hans-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party, who called the criticism of the British leader "hysterical".
- Fixing probe now reaches Bollywood, son of Dara Singh held
- BCCI cashes Pune Warriors guarantee, 'disgusted' Sahara walks out of IPL
- Sreesanth spent Rs 1.95L on clothes, bought friend BlackBerry, paid in cash: Police
- Delhi firm with MoD as client is linked to Pak cyberattacks
- After Infosys, iGATE sacks Phaneesh Murthy for sexual misconduct
- 2 weeks after harassment, Haryana schoolgirls return, cops in tow