22nd Mar 2018

Cameron meets EU officials, as UK deal gets closer

  • Cameron (l) will also meet with EU council president Tusk to hammer out the final deal on the UK's membership (Photo: Consillium)

The European Union and the UK might be edging towards a deal on the UK’s membership of the EU as British prime minister David Cameron is meeting EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday (29 January) for a final push on the UK’s membership negotiations to keep the country in the EU.

The two are expected to focus on Cameron’s call for a four-year ban before EU workers in Britain can claim welfare benefits.

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The proposal raised concerns it was discriminating against EU citizens and challenges one of the cornerstones of the EU, the free movement of workers.

The EU’s executive would initiate any legislation needed for the deal.

The British prime minister will also meet European Parliament president Martin Schulz in Brussels, on Friday.

On Sunday evening, Cameron is meeting EU Council president Donald Tusk, who leads the negotiations with fellow member states, to comb through the proposal for a deal expected to be put forward by Tusk on Monday.

Cameron cancelled trips to Denmark and Sweden to make a final push for a deal with the EU officials.

'Emergency brake'

One of the ideas on Juncker and Cameron’s plate for the working lunch is an “emergency migration brake” that would allow Britain to limit welfare payments for EU workers.

The UK would have to prove its welfare system was overwhelmed and it would need the approval of a majority of EU states, and crucially, not Brussels, to trigger the break, according to reports.

Other EU member states could also use the brake.

Asked about the “emergency brake” plan, Cameron said on Thursday night that he was glad others in Europe were taking on board the issue and looking at strong alternatives to his proposals.

“What's good is that others in Europe are bringing forward ideas to address this problem so we have better control of movement of people into our country,” he added.

The prime minister is aiming to close a deal ahead of a summit of EU leaders on 18-19 February.

Just before the summit, Cameron is expected to fly to Germany on 12 February, where he will have the opportunity to discuss the possible deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel and give a speech in Berlin.

Cameron set out his four demands, boosting competitiveness, safeguards against more political integration in the EU and for countries that do not use the euro, to other EU leaders at the December summit.

The British PM is planning to hold the referendum on the UK’s EU membership based on the deal in June, which would be possible if an agreement is sealed by EU leaders next month, or early March at the latest.

The proposed deal is a compromise, but one that Cameron could boast as a victory during his campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.

Cameron holds referendum talks with Juncker

Cameron cancelled visits to Denmark and Sweden on Friday to "take stock" of UK membership talks with EU Commission president Juncker. Progress update expected next week.

Cameron 'not in a hurry' for EU deal

British PM David Cameron has said in Davos he is not in a hurry to hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership, setting the stage for a possible delay on a deal expected to be closed in February.

Cameron asks Germans to help keep Britain in EU

The British prime minister appeals to Germans to help achieve his proposed changes to the European Union that would help keep Britain in the bloc, and said he is not challenging the freedom of movement.


EU awaits next step in UK talks this WEEK

A draft proposal answering British demands for EU reform is expected. At the EU Parliament plenary session, migration, Turkey, diesel car and data protection will be on the agenda.

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.


The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

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