David Cameron has embarked on a whirlwind tour of European capitals in a bid to garner support for EU reforms ahead of a British 2017 In/Out referendum. However, a difficult meeting with French President François Hollande showed just how tough his task is going to be.
Cameron said after the meeting that both he and Hollande agreed that there was still "a lot to work through" before agreement was reached on EU reform.
The prime minister, who embarked on a two-day tour of Europe's capitals on 28 May, warned that the status quo in Europe was "not good enough". He added that the 28-nation bloc must be "flexible and imaginative enough" to respond to demands for reform.
Downing Street later issued a statement, saying: "The PM set out his concerns on the EU. They agreed that there would be a lot to work through but there was a clear willingness to talk further and to try to find solutions."
According to The Times, Cameron said before the meal at the Elysée Palace, the official residence of the French President: "My priority is to reform the EU to make it more competitive, and to address the concerns of the British people about our membership. The status quo is not good enough. I believe there are changes we can make that will not just benefit Britain, but the rest of Europe too.
"Of course the priority for François is to strengthen the eurozone, to ensure a successful single currency, and Britain supports that. We want to help the eurozone work better and we do not want to stand in the way of closer integration. So we have different priorities but we share one objective, which is to find solutions to these problems."
Cameron can't 'change from playing football to rugby in middle of the match'
Cameron had earlier held talks with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte before meeting Hollande and his foreign minister, Laurent Fabius.
Earlier Fabius told a radio interviewer that the French President would tell Cameron that France supported "improvements" in the functioning of the EU but would have no truck with anything that dismantled it.
He said Britain would undoubtedly suffer more than Europe from a Brexit. "They joined a football club and you can't say in the middle of the match, 'Well, now we're going to play rugby'. It's one or the other," he said.
The prime minister is also meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, as well as the leaders of Poland, Spain and Portugal.