Britain’s Cameron to address EU parliament on referendum: MEP

David_Cameron_officialBritish Prime Minister David Cameron has accepted an invitation to address a special session of the European Parliament on his planned referendum on EU membership, a leading MEP said Thursday.

“I am delighted Cameron has, in principle, accepted my invitation to the European Parliament. This is a chance for him to finally put his cards on the table in a transparent manner,” Liberal Group leader Guy Verhofstadt said.

Verhofstadt — a former Belgian premier who has repeatedly called on Cameron to explain the referendum he has vowed to hold by the end of 2017 — said parliament officials were discussing dates with Cameron.

Cameron was “very honoured to be invited to the European Parliament and sees this as an opportunity to outline his ideas”, a statement from Verhofstadt’s office said.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s office said he had spoken to Cameron on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

“Cameron had a broadly favourable attitude towards the invitation and the two will speak again about it in the margins of the next European Council,” a press officer told AFP, referring to the EU summit in mid-October.

There was no immediate confirmation from London.

Cameron won re-election earlier this year promising voters a straight “in-out” vote on Britain’s EU membership by 2017.

He made a first case to EU leaders at a summit in June, setting off the negotiating process, with the issue to be taken up again at a December summit.

Critics say London has been very short on specifics but Cameron says he wants curbs on welfare payments to migrants and an opt-out on its drive towards ever closer union.

Cameron says if he can successfully renegotiate Britain’s membership terms, then he will campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum.

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