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UK to set out EU reform demands in November letter to EU president

At a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will set out a list of EU reforms his government wants to see. A referendum on EU membership is to be held in Britain by the end of 2017.

European leaders have expressed frustration over the lack of detail from the UK government on its demand for new EU membership terms. On Thursday, Cameron said he would write to European Council President Donald Tusk in early November.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the UK needed to "clarify the substance" of what it wanted from its EU partners.

Merkel met with Cameron last weekend.

"The pace will now quicken and I'll be again setting out the four vital areas where we need change, laying down what those changes will be at the start of November," Cameron said in Brussels on Thursday.

Cameron said he expected talks to be held in the run-up to the next EU summit, scheduled for December 17. "So we quicken the pace and quicken those negotiations in the run-up to the December council," he said.

"I'm confident we can get a good deal for Britain, fix those things that need to be fixed," he added.

Tusk welcomed Cameron's decision, saying that real negotiations could begin once the letter had been received.

EU lawmakers warned, however, that they would not accept any price for Cameron's renegotiation.

"We want Britain to remain in the European Union, but we cannot accept it at any price. That's very clear," said Joseph Daul, head of the center-right European People's Party (EPP), the largest political group in the EU legislature.

The UK Conservative Party left the EPP in 2009. Other EPP members include European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Tusk.

Cameron has not yet set a date for the in-out referendum on Britain's EU membership.

jm/cmk (Reuters, AFP)

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