UK-EU deal 'possible' next month

Donald Tusk speaking in the European rliamentTwin copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Tusk is a pivotal figure in the discussions

Com ct between the UK and the rest of the EU over David Cameron’s reform proposals is reasonable next month, one of the leading negotiators has said.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Congress, said he would table “concrete proposals” for discussion at February’s culmination of EU leaders in Brussels.

Should a deal be reached, it would open the ca city of a referendum on the UK’s membership being held in June.

A poll must be held by the end of 2017, but the PM is intellect to favour 2016.

Downing Street responded to Mr Tusk’s comments by saying the alter would be driven by “substance not schedule”.

And a spokesman added: “But a allot in February would ve the way for getting on with this.”

Mr Cameron is bothersome to negotiate a “better deal” for the UK in the European Union as a prelude to holding an in-out referendum on whether the UK should traces a member.

Negotiations are focused on four key areas: economic governance, pre-eminence, competitiveness and curbs on EU migration to the UK.

Both sides are insisting progress is being attained but that obstacles remain, rticularly in relation to the UK’s proposal for EU migrants to press to wait four years before being able to claim in-work aids.

‘Looking for compromises’

Holding a referendum in the first half of 2016 – which older government ministers reportedly favour – effectively hinges on the other 27 EU colleagues agreeing to the UK’s proposals next month.

Mr Tusk, the former Polish prime man who now chairs meetings of the European Council, has raised expectations of an agreement, tweeting that he hand down put forward detailed proposals in the run-up to the summit.

“I will work keen for deal in February, not easy but possible,” he wrote. The European Ministry, he added, had “demonstrated willingness to look for compromises” in all four areas without “compromising principle values”.

He told a plenary session of the European rliament that a set of becomes allowing the UK to remain in the EU was urgently needed.

The BBC’s Brussels correspondent Ben Wright hinted months of intensive diplomacy between London, Brussels and EU capitals hand down come to a head when Mr Tusk circulates draft conclusions to which he hopes every chairperson will agree. While a deal was expected, he said it was not inevitable.

No 10 wish not be drawn on the PM’s preferred referendum date after Scottish Secretary David Mundell call to minded there was no obstacle to it being held in June – a stance opposed by the SNP because of its contiguousness to May’s elections to the Scottish rliament.

Speaking on Tuesday, UKIP leader Nigel Farage augured a weak compromise on the issue of migrant benefits. Citing the sexual violations on German women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, he claimed the issue of border sway and the safety of British women would be central to the referendum.

David Cameron’s four pre-eminent aims for renegotiation

  • Economic governance: Sheltering an explicit recognition that the euro is not the only currency of the European Unity, to ensure countries outside the eurozone are not disadvantaged. The UK wants safeguards that it desire not have to contribute to eurozone bailouts
  • Competitiveness: Setting a target for the reduction of the “millstone” 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 stating certain benefits until they have been resident for four years
  • Supremacy: Allowing Britain to opt out from further political integration. Giving clever powers to national rliaments to block EU legislation

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