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Euro trade links 'a key interest'

Britain's top priority in Europe is protecting its trading links within the single market, David Cameron has insisted.

The Prime Minister said that work was already under way in Whitehall on the balance of powers between Westminster and Brussels but the "key national interest" was keeping markets open among the 27 member states.

Mr Cameron was pressed on the continuing fallout over Britain's place within Europe at a press conference in Perth with Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.

He joked that Ms Gillard should get involved in European meetings as the Commonwealth discussions had progressed at a "very good pace".

"We are looking at the balance of powers," he added. "That is in our coalition agreement and that work is already under way in Whitehall.

"I think it's right that it looks at the balance of powers, it looks at the different powers that are exercised at Westminster and Brussels. There's no question of powers being transferred from Westminster to Brussels, that is an important point to make, and I'm happy that that work is under way.

"I would just make this point, which is that as the 17 member states who are members of the euro push ahead with the things they quite rightly need to do in terms of having separate extra meetings, having separate extra governance, having extra processes, as I have said many times it is important that we safeguard the integrity of the single market of the 27.

"That is our key national interest, that Britain, a historic trading nation, has its biggest markets open and continues to have those markets fairly open and fairly governed.

"So irrespective of this balance of powers work it's very important that we make sure the single market is protected in the European Union.

"That's a point I made at the European Council on Sunday and again on Wednesday. I'm sure when we have the next one I'll be making it again and there are other members who are not in the euro who care very deeply about the single market that agree with the approach."

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