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UK finance minister Osborne in Paris to push EU reform

British Finance Minister George Osborne
British Finance Minister George Osborne Reuters/Paul Hackett TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

British finance minister George Osborne is in Paris to drum up support for a reformed European bloc amid reports London could hold its referendum on European Union membership next year.


"What we are interested in is a Europe that works for all its citizens, that create jobs," Osborne said after talks Monday with French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron.

Osborne also met with his French counterpart Michel Sapin, and was to meet with Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Britain wants to play a "leading role within a reformed EU," Osborne was expected to tell French ministers.

The referendum Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to hold on EU membership is "an opportunity to make the case for reform across the EU," Osborne will say, according to remarks released in advance.

The trip to Paris is the first in a series of visits Osborne will make to various European capitals.

It comes as the Independent reported Sunday that the referendum on Britain's membership could come as early as June 2016.

The British newspaper reported that Cameron had opted for an earlier poll to stop the question of Britain's membership becoming a campaign issue in French and German elections in 2017.

Recent polls have shown a majority of Britons want to stay in the EU although any referendum on the issue is expected to be tight.

The prime minister’s office declined to comment on the report, which also said Cameron will offer more details on the timing of the closely watched vote at the annual Conservative Party conference in October.

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