Britain – EU – Politics

EU Chief Warns ‘Lot to Do’ for Deal to Avoid British Exit

EU Chief Warns ‘Lot to Do’ for Deal to Avoid British Exit
Fri Feb 19, 2016 08:27:59

European leaders have a lot of work to do at a summit in Brussels to reach a deal to prevent Britain becoming the first country to crash out of the bloc, EU president Donald Tusk warned Friday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron urged his counterparts at the start of a two-day meeting to reach a “credible” reform deal that would allow him to hold a referendum on EU membership in June.

But in the face of concerns from France and eastern European countries, Tusk warned that the first day of talks had left much more to do to reach an agreement to rule out a so-called “Brexit.”

“For now I can only say that we have made some progress but a lot needs to be done,” Tusk told a brief press conference.

With the clock ticking, Tusk went immediately into overnight face-to-face talks with Cameron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a bid to overcome the final hurdles to a deal.

Tusk was also due to meet French President Francois Hollande, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

Hollande has reservations about Cameron’s demands for safeguards for countries that do not use the euro currency, while Michel objects to calls to exclude Britain from the EU’s goal of “ever closer union.”

The Czech premier meanwhile leads a group of four Eastern European countries that object to Cameron’s request for a limit to welfare benefit payments for EU migrants working in Britain, AFP reported.

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