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UK's new foreign secretary reiterates earlier stance on EU membership

(Reuters) - Britain's new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammonds reiterated his position from two years ago that if Britain does not get good renegotiation, it should leave the European Union.

In an interview with Andrew Marr of the BBC, Hammonds reiterated his earlier stance that if the European Union failed to change and to agree to new terms for Britain's membership, he would rather leave the bloc. (http://bbc.in/1n1U71T)

"If there is no change at all in the way Europe is governed, no change in the balance of competences between the nation states and the European Union, no resolution of the challenge of how the Eurozone can succeed and coexist with the non-Eurozone - that is not a Europe that can work for Britain in the future, so there must be change, there must be renegotiation."

Hammonds said his government would put it to the British people to decide once there is substantive renegotiation and substantive change in Europe that addresses the concerns that Britain has along with the needs of Europe in a modern world.

"So my job now is to pursue that renegotiation – to prepare for it ..over the next nine, 10 months..," Hammonds told the BBC.

He said he would make his recommendation to the British people after a renegotiation is carried out.

"We're all in government in the same place on Europe. We all

believe that the status quo is not an acceptable way to run Europe in the future."

Hammonds was appointed foreign secretary last week in a surprise development. William Hague, Britain's most senior diplomat for the past four years, voluntarily stood down allowing Prime Minister David Cameron to appoint him.

Cameron has promised to try to reshape Britain's EU ties if re-elected next year before giving voters a membership referendum, something opinion polls show could be close.

(Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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