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Boris Johnson calls for dramatic cuts to Britain's ties with EU and accuses Germany of taking over GreeceLondon Mayor wants UK to withdraw from social chapter and fisheries policy but remain in single marketPuts pressure on David Cameron to go further in negotiations with BrusselsAlso warns German Chancellor Angela Merkel has 'taken over' Greek government
11:25 GMT, 4 December 2012
London Mayor Boris Johnson called for major changes to Britain's relationship with Brussels, which could then be put to a referendum
Dramatic cutbacks to the UK’s relationship with Europe are ‘essential’ Boris Johnson declared today, insisting a reworked deal with Brussels should be put to the British people in a referendum.
The London Mayor warned David Cameron it is ‘high time’ voters had a say on the EU and called for a more ‘pared down’ and ‘common sense’ agreement with the EU.
Mr Johnson called for a return to a simplified ‘single market’, with Britain no longer bound by the social chapter or EU-wide fisheries policy.
In a major speech in London’s Docklands financial centre the senior Tory said Britain could be more like Norway or Switzerland, but remain inside the single market to ensure trading with the continent continues.
Mr Cameron has called for a renegotiation of some powers, which would then be put to the country in a referendum.
But Mr Johnson went further, ties with the EU be stripped back to the original vision of single market.
He also defied the Prime Minister, who has backed Eurozone countries former a closer fiscal union, warning it was ‘anti-democratic and therefore intellectually and morally wrong’.
The London Mayor demanded Mr Cameron ‘bring Britain’s membership in line with what people want’.
‘Boil it down to the single market. Scrap the social chapter. Scrap the fisheries policy,’ said Mr Johnson.
‘We could construct a relationship with the EU that more closely resembled that of Norway or Switzerland – except that we would be inside the single market council, and able to shape legislation…
‘That is a renegotiated Treaty we could and should put to the vote of the British people,’ he said at Thomson Reuters.
‘It is high time that we had a referendum, and it would be a very simple question. Do you want to stay in the EU single market – yes or no And if people don’t think the new relationship is an improvement, then they will exercise their sovereign right to leave the EU.
‘This pared down relationship is essential and deliverable.’
Mr Johnson also took a swipe at Germany, claiming the government of Greece had been ‘taken over’ by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Mr Johnson accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of 'taking over' the Greek government
He joked it was not ‘the outcome the Greeks were hoping for in 1944’, when the Nazi occupation of the country was ended.
The euro had shown itself to be ‘a calamitous project’ and plans for fiscal and banking union would ‘make a bad situation worse’, said the Mayor.
He said Britain ‘can no longer pretend that this country is at the heart of Europe’ but it should be ‘liberating’ for the UK to ‘seize the moment to ask the British people to define themselves and their future in Europe’.
‘The future for London is to be at the heart of the world economy, the centre of a series of interconnecting sets, trading freely with the EU, but with our eyes on the growth economies of the 21st century,’ Mr Johnson added.