22:56 GMT +317 January 2020
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    Britain has received a boost in its quest to reform the country’s membership agreement with the European Union, with Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb saying that without the UK, there is no EU.

    Stubb, speaking after a meeting with British Chancellor George Osborne, said that efforts must be made on both sides to keep the UK in the bloc.

    "Our take is very simple, without the United Kingdom there is no European Union… That is why we have to take into consideration the concerns that the British government has put forward."

    "It would be a travesty to both, for Europe and the UK, were the UK to leave the union."

    The comments come as Osborne continues on his one-day Scandinavian trip of Finland, Denmark and Sweden, where the chancellor is hoping to drum up support for London’s EU reform plans.

    Pushing for Non-Eurozone Rights

    Osborne is also using the trip to vouch for the rights of non-Eurozone countries such as Britain and Sweden, amid fears they may be squeezed out of economic benefits compared to other countries using the single currency.

    Stubb backed the British cause, saying: "You cannot leave the biggest economies which are not in the euro zone outside the decision-making procedure."

    Sweden’s Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson also agreed, saying that countries outside the currency union needed to work together to protect their rights within the EU.

    "As a non-euro country I can see lots of good things in having another large country that is also a non-euro member… of course we (will) work constructively in those discussions that will be coming."

    More Support for Britain

    The positive comments from Scandinavian leaders will come as a boost to the UK, with David Cameron’s Conservative government pushing for reforms to be made to the structure of the EU, particularly in the area of curbing welfare payments to EU migrants who live in Britain.

    It’s thought the Scandinavian support will continue, with Osborne to meet Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Finance Minister Claus Frederiksen.

    A number of Scandinavian countries have struggled to win over the public’s support in regards to immigration policies in recent times, with the new Danish government in particular taking a strong line on the immigration issue.

    The sense of common ground shared by London will not only boost the UK’s bid to reform the bloc, but it will also help in appeasing the Eurosceptic attitudes and strong rhetoric on immigration in some parts of northern Europe.

    The support for Britain is also seen as a sign that many countries are growing increasingly concerned with the current state of affairs in Brussels, including its immigration policy and the way in which the EU machine operates. These concerns are contributing to the belief that the bloc needs serious reforms to in order operate more smoothly.

    Prime Minister David Cameron has promised the British public the chance to vote in an in/out referendum regarding the UK’s European membership by the end of 2017.

    Although Cameron says his preference is for Britain to remain within a reformed EU, he has threatened Brussels by should negotiations fail — he may campaign in favor of leaving the bloc.

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    European Union, referendum, Brexit, George Osborne, Alexander Stubb, Finland, Britain
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