LONDON British Prime Minister David Cameron told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday he did not count on to attain a deal on his planned EU reforms at December’s European Council meeting, his spokeswoman mentioned.
Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain’s EU ties just before holding a referendum on membership of the bloc by the end of 2017, but is struggling to convince other EU nations that all of his demands are affordable.
The spokeswoman stated Cameron and Merkel agreed that excellent progress had been produced because the British leader wrote to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, last month setting out his demands. But there remained “difficult problems to resolve,” she added.
“The prime minister explained that his priority is to get the substance correct, underlining the need for legally binding, irreversible alterations,” the spokeswoman stated in a statement.
“He noted that the scale of what we are asking for indicates we will not resolve this in a single go and consequently he did not expect to get agreement at the December European Council.”
She added that Merkel had agreed and emphasized that she was committed to discovering a way to address Britain’s issues.
EU officials have stated that, although the British reform demands will be on the agenda of the subsequent European Council session Dec. 17-18, it will be challenging to attain a final deal.
Cameron had been pressing other EU members to conclude talks at the December summit, Tusk was reported as saying by the Guardian newspaper.
Some of his demands, such as curbing EU migrants’ access to Britain’s welfare method, are proving especially problematic as numerous see them as a challenge to the EU principle of non-discrimination.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper)