WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The White House said on Wednesday that it would be mutually beneficial for Britain to stay in the European Union (EU).
"We believe that the United Kingdom is stronger as a result of its European Union membership and we believe the European Union is stronger as a result of having the United Kingdom in the EU," said White House spokesman Jay Carney in response to British Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks about a referendum on the country 's EU membership by the end of 2017.
"We value our essential relationship with the UK as well as our relationship with the European Union, which makes critical contributions to peace, prosperity and security in Europe and around the world," Carney said at a regular news briefing.
In a long-awaited speech on Wednesday, Cameron stated: "Public disillusionment with the EU is at an all-time high. That's why I am in favor of a referendum."
The prime minister said that he wanted to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU before asking people to vote, and that he would campaign "heart and soul" for Britain to remain in the 27- member bloc should he secure satisfactory terms.
"We welcome the prime minister's call for Britain to remain in the EU and to retain a leading role in Europe's institutions," Carney said, adding that President Barack Obama told Cameron last week by phone that the United States "values a strong United Kingdom and a strong European Union."
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