• Prime Minister Cameron pledged next day to outline terms
  • Cameron to speak to parliament on EU membership on Monday

Former U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague warned last week it would be a mistake for David Cameron to list his demands for Britain staying in the European Union, a day before the prime minister agreed to do just that.

William Hague.
William Hague.
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Speaking at an HSBC Holdings Plc client conference in London on Wednesday, Hague “noted it would be foolish to publish a wish list for EU reform since it would immediately become a list of essential requirements and an inability to achieve them all could then be seen as failure,” the bank said in a report Monday.

Amid pressure for greater clarity from EU leaders, Cameron told them in Brussels on Thursday that he will send EU President Donald Tusk details of the changes he wants and the issues to be addressed. Once Cameron sends the letter, the “real negotiations can start,” Tusk said.

Hague’s observation is another indication that Cameron’s renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership may not be going to plan as other governments signal frustration with his refusal to spell out the concessions he wants and opinion polls show growing support for so-called Brexit. Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum by the end of 2017.

Hague, a former Conservative Party leader who was one of Cameron’s most senior ministers until he stepped down in May, said it would be better for any deal to be “rather like an egg in that it would need to be finished when it was delivered: the slightest crack would ruin the whole thing,” according to HSBC.

Cameron will report to Parliament in London on Monday afternoon on his talks in Brussels last week.

HSBC economist Liz Martins warned in her report that investor confidence could be damaged in the run-up to the referendum even if the U.K. doesn’t leave the EU.

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