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Associated Press
In this picture publicly provided by the German Government's Press Office, German chancellor Angela Merkel , right, talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron , during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday Jan. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Jesco Denzel /Bundespresseamt)

DAVOS, Switzerland — British Prime Minister David Cameron wants nothing to do with a United States of Europe, an idea that's gaining currency as the countries that use the euro struggle to fix their debt crisis.

A day after he shook up Europe's political landscape by offering British citizens the prospect of a vote on whether to stay in the 27-country European Union, Cameron insisted Thursday he wants Britain to remain a part of the bloc but that more unification would not be the answer.

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"To try and shoehorn countries into a centralized political union would be a great mistake, and Britain would not be a part of it," he said at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

Many in the EU, particularly among the 17 countries that use the euro, are driving for closer political unification, and that's raised particular concerns recently in Britain, which oftens views the bloc through a business prism.

"If you mean that Europe has to be a political union, a country called Europe, then I disagree," Cameron said Thursday.