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Europe won’t change to satisfy critics, EU leader suggests

BRUSSELS — The man who represents the 27 leaders of the European Union warned Thursday of widespread opposition to steps that may be necessary to keep Britain as a member of the bloc.

Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, said he saw “no impending need to open the EU treaties” to address the complaints of countries like Britain that are outside the eurozone and that object to “federal Euroland” rules governing the Union.

“Nor do I feel much appetite for it around the leaders’ table,” Van Rompuy said, according to the text of a speech he delivered Thursday evening in London at the Policy Network, a center-left research organization.

An aide to Van Rompuy said the comments were meant to underline that there was no immediate need to change EU treaties to ensure the stability of the euro, and that the comments were not referring to any demands for treaty change that Britain may seek in the future.

Still, Van Rompuy’s remarks appeared to be a pointed warning to Prime Minister David Cameron, who in January promised British voters a referendum within the next five years on whether to stay in the Union on revised membership terms, or to leave.

Cameron’s stance is widely regarded as a bet that his country is big and important enough to win concessions from the bloc, including a change in the EU treaty if necessary. But a number of European leaders, as well as critics in Britain, have also warned that Cameron could lose that gamble and end up overseeing the country’s voluntary exclusion from the Union. Van Rompuy also faulted the British approach as overly confrontational in a bloc that has a long tradition of consensual decision-making.

“How can you possibly convince a room full of people when you keep your hand on the door handle?” Van Rompuy said, without naming Cameron, according to the advance copy of his speech.

—James Kanter, The New York Times

Mississippi mayoral candidate found dead

ATLANTA_A 22-year-old man was charged with murder Thursday in the death of an openly gay, African-American candidate for mayor in the Mississippi Delta.

The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that Lawrence Reed, 22, a resident of Clarksdale, Miss., was under investigation for the death of Marco McMillian, 34, the mayoral candidate in the same town. Police say they have no reason to suspect his death was a hate crime.

Medical experts Thursday performed an autopsy of McMillian, whose body was found beside a levee this week near the historic Delta blues town. He was reported missing after his car was involved in a head-on collision this week on Highway 49.

Officials from the Sheriff’s Department released few details about how, or why, McMillian had died. The levee where he was found protects Clarksdale from the Mississippi River floodwaters and was miles from the traffic accident involving the candidate’s sports utility vehicle.

The victim’s family was left to reach their own conclusions.

“I believe it was political,” said one family member, who requested that his name not be used because he was asked by police not to speak to the media. “Maybe some people didn’t want him to run. Maybe he was a threat. They wanted Clarksdale to stay the same.” The relative declined to elaborate.

The Sheriff’s Department declined to say whether Reed had been at the wheel of McMillian’s vehicle Tuesday morning when it collided with another car near the Tallahatchie County line. The driver of that car was treated at a hospital and released, the authorities said.

—Robbie Brown and Timothy Williams, The New York Times