Your characterisation of David Cameron, the UK's prime minister, as an “awkward neighbour” is as dated a description as ‘la perfide Albion' (24-30 January). A reformed and successful European Union is not about keeping Britain in at any cost, but about ensuring that the EU has the flexibility to compete. Your reporter's pessimistic view of the renegotiation belies my own experience as women's-rights spokesman in the parliament.
Member states have kicked the damaging maternity-leave directive into the legislative long grass and the UK was joined by a number of countries that believed that the European Commission's proposals on quotas for women on boards were neither right nor necessary. Britain has many progressive allies who want to see a more open Europe.