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  Cameron asks Berlin to help avoid ‘Brexit’

Cameron asks Berlin to help avoid ‘Brexit’

AFP/REUTERS
Published : Jan 8, 2016, 5:52 am IST
Updated : Jan 8, 2016, 5:52 am IST

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thurs-day appealed to Germany to help him achieve the Eur-opean Union reforms he needs to persuade Britons to remain in the 28-nation bloc.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thurs-day appealed to Germany to help him achieve the Eur-opean Union reforms he needs to persuade Britons to remain in the 28-nation bloc. Britain is expected to hold a referendum on whether to remain in the EU by the end of 2017, and Mr Cameron is currently in Germany to renegotiate ties with the union to help counter burgeoning British euroscepticism.

“Support for our membership has declined over many years. So I am negotiating changes which will address the concerns of the British people,” Mr Cameron wrote in an article for Germany’s Bild newspaper. “But these changes will benefit the EU too, and Germany can help deliver them.”

 

Mr Cameron wants the EU to cut bureaucracy and shift more powers from Brussels to member states. He is also seeking guarantees that Britain will be protected from closer EU political integration and from economic decisions made by the 19 EU members that use the euro currency. Those demands have so far proven relatively uncontroversial.

However, a key sticking point for several EU members is Mr Cameron’s aim to restrict benefits for EU migrants for their first four years in Britain.

Critics of the plan say the measure would harm the EU’s central tenets of non-discrimination between EU citizens and freedom of movement between member states. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen as generally supportive of Britain’s position, she has stressed that “the fundamental achievements of European integration” are not up for debate.

 

Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday he was “relatively optimistic” that the EU could strike a deal with Britain on EU reforms at a summit in mid-February. At a press conference Mr Rutte said: “I think we could get there in February. I’m relatively optimistic.”

Location: Netherlands, Noord-Holland, Amsterdam