UK's Cameron taps trusted advisers for critical EU speech

Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:53am EST
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* Cameron to deliver speech 0900 GMT on Friday in Amsterdam

* Is expected to say which powers he wants to claw back from EU

* His own party is split on the issue

* Other EU member states are anxious about his plans

By Andrew Osborn

LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - When British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers an eagerly awaited speech in Amsterdam on Friday that could determine Britain's future in Europe, the message will be his own, but the text a collective effort.

The speech, in which he is expected to rattle off a list of powers he wants to seize back from the European Union and promise a public vote on any new arrangements, has been sweated over by a little-known coterie of advisers and speech writers.

The pressure to get it right is high. Some politicians have said the speech could end up reshaping Britain's role in the world, alienating allies, and deciding his own political fate and that of his ruling Conservative party.

A government source said "four or five people" who shared "a range of views" about the EU have been actively working on the text up until the last minute. Cameron had widely consulted other interest groups for their views, the source said.   Continued...