BRUSSELS, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — Britain's membership in the European Union will be a sensitive issue for the bloc, but it will not pay any price to prevent Britain's exit, Herman Van Rompuy, the outgoing president of the European Council, said Friday.
"Another challenge [apart from the crisis in Ukraine] will be the position of the UK in the EU after the next elections there. How can we contribute – but not at any price – that the country stays in the Union," Rompuy said at his last address to the representatives of the European Parliament.
"They [the British] have to want it and set conditions that are acceptable for us. In any case the intention is – and I think for the British leaders too – to keep the UK in the European Union," he added.
Rompuy also cited the crisis in Ukraine as the main challenge for his successor – former prime minister of Poland Donald Tusk.
Ahead of the May 2015 general election, UK Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party has adopted a firmer stance on the issue of immigration from other European countries, and of the UK membership in the European Union.
Such a move comes as the Conservative party is losing momentum to the most eurosceptic party in Britain — UK Independence Party (UKIP) — that has been gaining ground both domestically and in the European Parliament recently.
Cameron has claimed he would hold a referendum on the British membership in the European Union in 2017 if he wins the May national election.