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British PM Cameron promises tough times for EU ahead of referendum

  • Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron answers a question from a journalist after delivering a speech on immigration at the Home Office in London, Thursday, May 21, 2015. Cameron on Thursday announced strict new measures designed to control immigration to Britain as new official figures show increasing levels of migration. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron answers a question from a journalist after delivering a speech on immigration at the Home Office in London, Thursday, May 21, 2015. Cameron on Thursday announced strict new measures designed to control immigration to Britain as new official figures show increasing levels of migration. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, speaks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, during arrivals at the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, on Friday, May 22, 2015. EU leaders gather for a second day of meetings with six post-communist nations to discuss various issues, including enlargement, the economy and Ukraine. At left is European Council President Donald Tusk. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, speaks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, during arrivals at the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, on Friday, May 22, 2015. EU leaders gather for a second day of meetings with six post-communist nations to discuss various issues, including enlargement, the economy and Ukraine. At left is European Council President Donald Tusk. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, speaks during a media conference at the conclusion of the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, Latvia on Friday, May 22, 2015. EU leaders gathered for a second day of meetings with six post-communist nations to discuss various issues, including enlargement, the economy and Ukraine. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, speaks during a media conference at the conclusion of the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, Latvia on Friday, May 22, 2015. EU leaders gathered for a second day of meetings with six post-communist nations to discuss various issues, including enlargement, the economy and Ukraine. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

British Prime Minister David Cameron is warning the European Union of tough times ahead as his nation is seeking a drastic reform of the bloc ahead of a referendum on whether to leave.

In his first meeting with his EU counterparts since his election victory, Cameron said that "there will be lots of noise, lots of ups and downs along the way."

Cameron has pledged to hold a national vote on whether Britain should leave the EU before the end of 2017. The issue is one of the most important challenges facing his government in the next five years and will likely start to increasingly affect the workings of the 28-nation EU.

Cameron wants to get more powers back from the EU to national capitals.