LONDON British Prime Minister David Cameron is ready to drop a demand to curb welfare benefits for migrant workers as he attempts to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the European Union, two British newspapers reported on Saturday.
The demand that European migrant workers wait 4 years ahead of claiming state benefits has so far been presented as a central plank of the new deal Cameron is in search of to clinch ahead of a referendum on whether or not to stay in the bloc or leave.
Observed as a way to lessen Britain’s attractiveness to migrants from poorer EU members in eastern Europe, a key domestic political situation in Britain, the welfare demand has been a single of the greatest stumbling blocks in the renegotiation procedure.
Citing government sources, the Telegraph and Independent newspapers reported that Cameron would tell fellow EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday that he was prepared to drop the program if they agreed on alternative measures to support minimize immigration.
A spokeswoman for Cameron’s Downing Street office said she had no immediate comment and was searching into the reports.
Dropping the demand, which has received in depth coverage in the British media, would be observed as an embarrassing climbdown and would likely antagonize the big and vocal eurosceptic wing of Cameron’s Conservative Party.
Each newspapers mentioned that while in Brussels for a European Council meeting on Dec. 17-18, Cameron would tell fellow leaders that the proposal would stay “on the table” till a greater alternative was found to address the immigration situation.
“What matters most is to fix the troubles, not the precise type of the arrangements,” the Telegraph quoted a Downing Street source as saying.
On a tour of a number of eastern European countries this week as portion of his renegotiation drive, Cameron found that his proposal on welfare was the most contentious situation for fellow heads of government.
Right after meeting with Cameron in Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said they had not reached complete agreement on particular troubles, singling out the welfare advantages proposal.
Poland has been one particular of the primary beneficiaries of the EU’s principle of totally free movement considering that it became a member in 2004. Tens of thousands of Poles live and function in Britain.
Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on regardless of whether Britain should stay in the EU or exit the bloc by the end of 2017, despite the fact that it could take spot significantly earlier than that. He has stated his preference would be to stay in a reformed EU.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon Editing by Sandra Maler)