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Cameron faces an uphill task.

With a renewed mandate to govern the United Kingdom for the next five years, British Prime Minister David Cameron is intent on brokering a series of reforms in the European Union (EU) and then using those as a basis for a final aACAyin-or-out' referendum in 2017. He began his diplomatic charm offensive for EU reforms at a summit in Riga that was aimed at enhancing the EU's ties with Armenia. Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldavia and Ukraine. Tomorrow, he will host the European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker at Chequers, the official country residence of the UK premier.

Cameron faces an uphill task in trying to convince members of the 28-member bloc that there is a need for reform. The last round of reforms -- based on the treaties of Maastricht and Lisbon -- took years to implement and necessitated national referendums in several member states, and deeply divided electorates across Europe.

French President Francois Hollande has pointed out that now isn't the time nor the place to discuss reforms. And he's right. The Ukraine crisis represents the biggest threat to east-west relations and peace since the end of the Cold War. He and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have taken the lead in the EU in de-escalating the conflict and formulating peace proposals, relegating Cameron to being a bit-player of little relevance. By pushing his reform agenda now, when it has little chance of success, Cameron will simply reinforce that non-relevant status for Britain -- in or out of Europe.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 24, 2015
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