David Cameron has consult oned applying an “emergency brake” to EU immigration, in a meeting with his Czech counter rt, as he invites a deal on his EU reforms.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka rejected Mr Cameron’s drafts for a four-year ban on in-work benefits.
But Mr Sobotka said allowing states to mean borders temporarily – as a “brake” – could be considered if welfare systems were subordinate to pressure.
Mr Cameron said he still wanted a benefit ban but welcomed other alternatives.
The prime minister, who held talks with Mr Sobotka in Prague, is aspiring to get a deal on his four reform demands at a summit next month so he can bid an in/out referendum on whether the UK should stay in the European Union.
But the welfare feature of his proposals has been resisted by Central European member states.
The “emergency brake” idea has been floated before – but it is not sure how it would work in practice.
It could trigger temporary controls on EU migration if the gush is considered “destabilising” but it would not be under the control of the British prime wait on and may need the agreement of all EU member states to invoke it.
Mr Sobotka said he conformed with most of the UK’s reform agenda but made it clear in a joint dis tch conference with Mr Cameron that he would not accept “discriminatory” heights.
But he added: “We discussed possible alternatives forwarded on this go forth.
“The UK has introduced their proposal… we discussed other possible variants to meet the same objective, ie make it possible for the UK government to respond to the gather influx of workers.
“This option involves giving a member state the admissibility opportunity of an emergency brake if there is immense pressure on its welfare system.”
He combined: “It is very important for us that any solution that is adopted on a European elevation does not discriminate.”
Mr Cameron said the benefit ban was still “on the table” but he “suffered” alternatives that would have a similar im ct on migration.
He ordered he would not rush an agreement if it was not “available” in time for the Brussels summit on 18 February.
But he maintained he thought a deal was possible by then, pointing to the “goodwill” of other formals.
“I firmly believe there is a thway to an agreement. I am confident that with the workers of European rtners and with goodwill we will be able to get there and discover mutually satisfactory conclusions.”
In an opinion piece for Czech news per Hospodarske Noviny, Mr Cameron conveyed he valued the contributions Czechs had made to British life, including Czech-born dramaturge Tom Stop rd and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, and he believed in the principle of let go movement.
But he added: “Britain does face some item challenges due to the scale and speed of immigration in our communities.”
He said the British happiness system was an “unnatural draw for people to come to our country”.
“For example, because of Britain’s liberal in-work benefits system, a graduate from the Czech Republic could be financially cured off stacking shelves in a supermarket in Britain rather than undertaking skilled situation in the Czech Republic.
“That doesn’t make sense for Britain or for the Czech Republic.”
David Cameron’s four cardinal aims for renegotiation
- Economic governance: Ensuring an explicit recognition that the euro is not the only currency of the European Junction, to ensure countries outside the eurozone are not disadvantaged. The UK wants safeguards that it commitment not have to contribute to eurozone bailouts
- Competitiveness: Setting a target for the reduction of the “tax” of excessive regulation and extending the single market
- Immigration: Restricting access to in-work and out-of-work furthers to EU migrants. Specifically, ministers want to stop those coming to the UK from exacting certain benefits until they have been resident for four years
- Sway: Allowing Britain to opt out from further political integration. Giving vast powers to national rliaments to block EU legislation
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More: BBC News EU referendum special