Furious EU nations will force a draconian Brexit deal on the UK in a bid to deter other countries from leaving, the House of Lords Select Committee, which scrutinises British EU policy, was told in Brussels.
“My concern is that if we vote to leave that the deal we’d be given would be such that no one else would want to leave. We would bear the brunt of the angry other 27 EU countries,” Catherine Bearder, a British Liberal Democrat MEP said.
The peers were in Brussels to quiz the Commission’s Brexit supremo Jonathan Faull, meet Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, and European politicians, as part of its inquiry into the poll on EU membership. [...]
A deal on the reforms will be put in writing by early February for EU leaders to discuss later that month at the 18 February European Council, a European diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity on Wednesday. [...]
Lord Jay of Ewelme told EurActiv the behind closed-doors meeting with Faull confirmed that benefits was “the big question”. Discussions were ongoing to try and find a protocol to allow any changes to take place, without EU treaties having to be altered immediately, he said.
Glenis Willmott, a British Labour MEP, said, “I think we are well on the way to an agreement. People are desperate for us to stay. Solutions will be found apart from the four years on the benefits but that is because of legality of it.”
Ashley Fox, a British Conservative MEP, warned, “When it comes to the referendum, the biggest issue will be migration. [...]
Fox said the vote would come down to a gut feeling among voters on economic security and migration. The “remain” camp had a stronger argument on the economy but a weaker one on migration, he said. [...]
Taming the Eurosceptics
Bearder and Willmott said their parties would campaign for Britain to stay in the EU, regardless of whether Cameron secured the reforms. [...]
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