Britain and Italy say agree on need for deep reform of EU

The European flag flies outside of the La Canada shopping centre in Marbella, southern Spain January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jon Nazca (Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and Italy said on Tuesday that they agree on the need to reform the European Union to protect the rights of the bloc's non euro zone members, promote business and tackle the migration crisis. Britain is renegotiating some of the terms of its EU membership ahead of a referendum due by the end of 2017 but Prime Minister David Cameron has so far failed to reach agreement on plans to restrict EU migrants' access to in-work benefits. Writing in The Daily Telegraph newspaper, the British and Italian foreign ministers said there was much common ground. "Italy and the UK agree on the need for a deep reform of the EU, simplifying its functioning, it procedures and its rules," Philip Hammond and Paolo Gentiloni wrote in a joint comment piece. "We can work together on an EU reform package that deals with specific issues such as the role of national parliaments, competitiveness, economic governance and welfare, in order to make the EU simpler, more efficient and less bureaucratic." The pair said that the EU needed to have "different paths of integration" which can coexist, a key demand from Britain which has increasingly stepped away from the ever closer political unions pursued by most of the bloc's 28 states. (Reporting By Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)