Prime Minister David Cameron and his European Union counterparts are still a long way from agreeing a deal to renegotiate Britain’s membership, according to Jonathan Faull, the EU administrator leading the discussions.
Cameron had hoped to agree a framework for discussions ahead of the next meeting of EU leaders on December 17-18. However, disagreements, particularly over welfare payments for foreign workers, are making that deadline difficult, Faull told an Irish parliamentary committee meeting yesterday. Instead he suggested that it was likely to take until February to reach an agreement.
The Conservative Party proposed in its manifesto that migrants should live in the U.K. for four years before being able to claim state benefits. “That looks very like discrimination (to some people), so poses very serious problems under single market rules,” Faull said. In a speech on November 10 in which Cameron set out his demands for EU reform, the prime minister indicated that he was “open to different ways” of resolving the issue.
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