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By Peter Hoskin
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Before
Downing Street decided to postpone David Cameron’s Europe speech, it had
already dispersed extracts from it among journalists. Here’s a selection of
those extracts for ConHome readers:

  • I
    want Britain to stay in Europe…
    “I
    come here as British Prime Minister with a positive vision for the future of
    the European Union. A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to play a
    committed and active part.”
  • …but
    Europe must change.
    “I want to speak to you
    today with urgency and frankness about the European Union and how it must
    change – both to deliver prosperity and to retain the support of its peoples.”
  • Yes, it really must change. “More of the same will not secure a long-term future for the eurozone.
    More of the same will not see the European Union keeping pace with the new
    powerhouse economies. More of the same will not bring the European Union any
    closer to its citizens. More of the same will just produce more of the same –
    less competitiveness, less growth, fewer jobs. And that will make our countries
    weaker, not stronger.”
  • The three challenges facing Europe. “There are always voices saying, ‘Don’t ask the
    difficult questions’. But it’s essential for Europe – and for Britain – that we
    do because there are three major challenges confronting us today. … First,
    the problems in the eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe. Second,
    there is a crisis of European competitiveness, as other nations across the
    world soar ahead. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens
    which has grown dramatically in recent years and which represents a lack of
    democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely
    in Britain.”
  • Britain
    could leave if these challenges aren’t overcome.
    “If we don't address these challenges, the danger is that
    Europe will fail and the British
    people will drift towards the exit,”
  • Although,
    again, I don’t want that.
    “I want the European
    Union to be a success and I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that
    keeps us in it.”
  • And
    more on the democratic challenge.
    “There
    is a growing frustration that the EU is seen as something that is done to
    people rather than acting on their behalf, and this is being intensified by the
    very solutions required to resolve the economic problems … People are
    increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them
    mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity or their
    taxes are used to bail out governments on the other side of the continent.”


And we also know some of the
speech’s content, outside of extracts. The Daily Mail’s Ephraim
Hardcastle column
puts it particularly neatly:

“…we know that Mr Cameron was planning
to reject one of the articles of faith held by the Euro elite: that member
states – regardless of the wishes of their electorate – must embrace ‘ever
closer union’.

We also know he intended to promise to
renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership, before asking voters to accept
or reject it in a referendum.”

So far, this appears to have been met
with broad approval from some more Eurosceptic Tory MPs — including from Liam
Fox, who advised
Mr Cameron
to speak out against the concept of “ever closer union” on
ConservativeHome yesterday. Although I stress those two words: so far.

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