Friday

3rd Feb 2023

EU and British officials intensify Brexit diplomacy

  • Tusk will share a draft EU-UK deal with member states on Tuesday (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

EU and British officials held intensive talks on Monday (1 February) in the latest effort to hammer out a deal for the UK’s reformed membership of the EU, which will then have to be approved by fellow member states.

Early evening, European Council president Donald Tusk announced he would table a "proposal for a new settlement" of Britain's EU membership Tuesday at noon.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

All day EU and British officials had met in what sources described as a “small, restricted circle” to finalise a draft text.

Continued talks came after British prime minister David Cameron and EU Council president Donald Tusk failed on Sunday to come to an agreement on Cameron’s proposals.

“Progress has been made on political and technical level, however we are not there yet,” an EU Commission spokesman said.

“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” he added.

Time is running out for Cameron, who hoped to clinch the deal with EU leaders at their 18 and 19 February summit, and put the UK’s EU membership to a referendum in June.

EU policy advisors to governments, the “sherpas”, and EU ambassadors are set to discuss details on Friday before the summit.

One sticking point where the EU side seems to have backed down is curbing in-work benefits for EU workers in Britain for four years through a so-called “emergency brake.”

Some member states, particularly from eastern Europe, criticised Cameron’s proposal for being discriminatory and for going against EU principles on free movement.

The brake would allow London to immediately stop benefit payments to EU migrants in Britain.

“We still have to see the actual text, but we want would like the trigger for the brake to be objective, evidence-based, and for the Council [member states] to be involved in the decision-making,” an official from an eastern European country told this website on the possible mechanism.

Another tricky debate has emerged on eurozone governance, where France raised concerns.

Cameron wants to make sure no decisions are taken that are detrimental to the UK’s financial interests by being able to delay votes on sensitive issues in the EU Council.

France and other eurozone countries want to make sure the UK has no veto over their monetary policy.

“The idea of the delay has been floated for some time. The question is how long will the UK be able to delay decisions, what will be the sequencing, but safeguards for the UK are not a problem in principle,” a diplomat from a eurozone country told this website.

Cameron urges EU concessions on welfare

British PM David Cameron says he made progress on the UK's membership of the EU during talks in Brussels on Friday, but it "wasn't enough".

'No deal yet' in EU-UK talks

Discord on welfare restrictions and eurozone vetoes prompted Tusk and Cameron to prolong talks in London, with a draft Brexit deal now expected on Tuesday.

EU tables deal on UK demands

EU Council president Donald Tusk released a draft for an agreement to keep the UK in the EU that includes an up to four-year limitation on benefits but no treaty change.

EU lobby register still riddled with errors

The EU's lobby register remains riddled with errors, with pro-transparency campaigners demanding better data and mandatory rules. The latest findings come amid a raft of proposals by the European Parliament president to weed out corruption in the wake of Qatargate.

EU lobby register still riddled with errors

The EU's lobby register remains riddled with errors, with pro-transparency campaigners demanding better data and mandatory rules. The latest findings come amid a raft of proposals by the European Parliament president to weed out corruption in the wake of Qatargate.

Latest News

  1. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  2. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  3. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  4. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  5. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU
  6. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  7. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  8. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us