Cameron warns Europe over "shoehorning" political union

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January 24, 2013 9:42 PM EST

Prime Minister David Cameron warned European leaders on Thursday that any attempt to shoehorn countries into ever deeper political union was a mistake that Britain would not be a part of.

"Countries in Europe have their histories, their traditions, their institutions, want their own sovereignty, their ability to make their own choices, and to try and shoehorn countries into a centralised political union would be a great mistake for Europe, and Britain wouldn't be part of it," Cameron told CEOs and investors in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Cameron's speech at Davos comes a day after he promised Britons a vote on quitting the European Union, saying the country would have a referendum by the end of 2017.

"Britain is a major European player on all of the issues where Europe needs to act - being more competitive, fighting terrorism, combating climate change - we are right out there leading the arguments, making the arguments."

"And that is the sort of political action that we need. But a centralised political union? Not for me, not for Britain," Cameron said.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Tim Castle; editing by Kate Holton)

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