David Cameron says he is delighted the process of renegotiating the UK’s membership of the EU is “properly under way”.
The prime minister addressed EU leaders for 10 minutes at a summit in Brussels last night, the BBC reports.
The speech marks the start of official renegotiation talks between London and Brussels.
Cameron wants to reform the UK’s membership of the EU before holding an in/out referendum by the end of 2017.
He said after addressing the summit: “People always say to me these things aren’t possible. Once again we have proved we will get them done.”
Cameron wants an opt-out on the core EU aim of “ever closer union”, and to boost the powers of national parliaments, so groups of them can block proposed EU legislation.
He also wants to safeguard the City and other financial centres outside the Eurozone, and to curb internal EU immigration by cutting benefits.
The European Council’s Donald Tusk, who is overseeing the membership negotiations, said there was a will to help the UK.
But he said: “One thing should be clear from the very beginning: the fundamental values of the EU are not for sale and so are non-negotiable.
“We should consider British concerns, but only in a way which will be safe for all of Europe. We’ll come back to this in December.”