Britons should not turn their back on EU – Barroso

Jose Manuel Barroso (CC Guillaume Paumier via Flickr)

Jose Manuel Barroso (CC Guillaume Paumier via Flickr)

Jose Manuel Barroso told British students on Friday not to turn their back on the European Union.

In a speech at the London School of Economics Mr Barroso said: “The right thing to do is not to turn away but to engage and see what we together can do to make it better. If you don’t like Europe as it is, improve it.”

Mr Barroso’s visit came amid growing Euro-scepticism in Britain and ahead of the European elections in May, in which the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) could be the most successful party according to recent opinion polls.

In his speech Mr Barroso defended the freedom of movement within EU member states, after Prime Minister David Cameron announced to try to change the existing rules in order to keep immigrants from claiming welfare benefits in the UK.

“An internal market needs all these freedoms, if not we are shooting ourselves in our feet. “We cannot have a single market without the free movement of European citizens,” he said.

Mr Cameron has announced to hold a referendum about Britain’s membership in the EU if his Conservative Party wins the general elections in 2015.

When asked about the euro zone debt crisis, Mr Barroso said: “The existential crisis of the euro is over.”

He added that he was absolutely sure Germany would stand by the euro.

Find the full transcript of Mr Barroso’s speech here.

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