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U.K. Sees German Treaty-Talk Bid as Opening to Repatriate Powers

The U.K. views Germany’s bid to alter European Union treaty rules on bank oversight as an opportunity to pursue its own goal of repatriating powers from the bloc.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told EU counterparts in Dublin yesterday that if one government proposes revisions to the bloc’s treaties, other nations will want to use the opportunity to insert changes, according to a U.K. official.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble yesterday secured a written commitment from ministers that they would “work constructively” on proposals to amend treaty rules that underpin planned oversight powers for the European Central Bank. The decision was welcomed by the U.K., as it shows that treaty changes are firmly on the EU’s agenda, said the official who didn’t want be named because the talks were private.

Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to win support from other EU leaders for talks to renegotiate Britain’s status within the 27-member bloc. Cameron this week took his case for a more flexible EU to Spain, France, and Germany, following his January announcement that, if re-elected in 2015, he’ll called a referendum on British membership of the EU by the end of 2017.

Cameron has earned rebukes from across Europe and within his own coalition for the plebiscite plan, which opponents say adds to uncertainty at a time of economic crisis.

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