EU leaders at their summit in Brussels wrestle with Britain’s renegotiation of its membership and how best the bloc can tackle its refugee crisis. Ciara Lee reports.
Cameron facing resistance at EU summit
Facing an uphill battle – British Prime Minister David Cameron – arriving at an EU summit in Brussels to renegotiate Britain’s membership in the Bloc.
European President Donald Tusk not pulling any punches when it comes to Cameron’s demands.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT, DONALD TUSK, SAYING:
“Some parts of the British proposal seem unacceptable.”
Cameron is aware of how divisive the debate is at home ahead of a referendum he’s promised by the end of 2017
But he faces resistance from these leaders over an agreement to curb welfare payments to EU migrants.
His proposal has been widely criticised, particularly by Eastern Europe.
IHS Global Insight’s Jan Randolph.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT, DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK, JAN RANDOLPH, SAYING:
“Control over people movement is fundamental to what the EU is all about, its essential freedom pillar. I think measures will be offered, compromises on benefits, and contributions for residents. But they have to be careful about non-discrimination, that is also a central pillar for what the EU’s all about.”
Even so, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker still holds hope for a deal.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN UNION COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, SAYING:
“The Commission is ready to look for other options than the single one proposed by the British prime minister and I’m quite convinced that we’ll find an answer to that highly complicated question.”
There are other issues on leaders’ minds too.
The mass influx of migrants will feature prominently at the meeting.
The European Commission has proposed new measures to stem the tide, including a coastguard shared among member states.
And trebling its spending on perimeter border security.