EC says no deal after talks with UK PM

David CameronLONDON, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — Visiting European Council President Donald Tusk said “no deal” had been reached yet over Britain’s future in Europe after his talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street on Sunday.

Cameron and Tusk met and held talks over dinner at Downing Street on Sunday, seeking to finalize a package of measures over Britain’s relationship with the EU.

“No deal yet. Intensive work in next 24 (hours) crucial,” Tusk tweeted after he left the crunch talks with Cameron.

Cameron, on his part, announced on his Twitter account that he had “a good meeting” with Tusk, who has agreed to another 24 hours of talks before publishing the draft of British renegotiation text.

After the meeting, a Downing Street spokesperson said the two leaders had “a productive working dinner.”

“Much progress has been made, particularly in the last 48 hours since the Prime Minister’s meeting with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday, but there is still more hard work required,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

On welfare, the European Commission have tabled a text making clear that Britain’s current circumstances meet the criteria for triggering the emergency brake, according to the statement.

“This is a significant breakthrough, meaning the Prime Minister can deliver on his commitment to restrict in work benefits to EU migrants for four years,” the spokesperson noted.

The statement added: “But there are still areas where there is more to do and both agreed it was therefore worth taking the extra time to make further progress.”

Such areas, according to the spokesperson, include the issues of economic governance and abuse of free movement.

“In the spirit of a constructive meeting, Tusk signaled that he plans to circulate a draft text to all Member States on Tuesday,” spokesperson said.

Earlier on Sunday, Tusk said he would present solutions to Cameron “on all baskets”, but agreement must be acceptable for al 28 EU member states, and there would be “no compromise on fundamental freedoms.”

As part of his key demands to renegotiate a better deal for Britain in the EU, Cameron has been pushing for a ban on the in-work benefits for EU migrants for four years.

But EU officials have hinted that Britain could only adopt an “emergency brake” on EU migrants’ benefits for up to four years under the condition that it could prove its welfare system was “under excessive strain”.

According to the current EU proposal, the “emergency brake” could be imposed within three months after Britain applies and other EU members states agree.

Cameron said the EU proposal is “not good enough” and wanted the brake to be enforced right after Britain’s EU referendum with no time limit.

Cameron has pledged to hold an “in or out” referendum on whether Britain should withdraw from the EU by 2017. He promised to campaign for his country to remain in the bloc if the EU agrees to reform as Britain has requested.


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