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Britain, EU resume tough talks on much-needed deal

19 February 2016 15:03


British Prime Minister David Cameron heads into a second day of tough talks about concessions to stop the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union.

Since Thursday, leaders from the 28-nation European bloc have been digging their heels in over Cameron’s reform demands, which include cutting welfare payments to EU asylum-seekers.

“We’ve made some progress but there is still no deal,” Cameron said on Friday as he arrived for fresh talks at the Brussels summit.

“As I have said, I would only do a deal if we get what Britain needs, so we are going to get back in there,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande said that “we will still work this morning as there were some proposals overnight which have been changed between the ones and the others.”

For his part, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said, “The proposals on the table at the moment don’t satisfy all the parties. We haven’t finished yet.”

“I hope that by the end of the afternoon we will have a text that everyone can live with,” he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it had become “clear that agreement will not be easy for many, but that the will is there.”

The first EU Council session ended on Thursday with no agreement on several issues, showing the Europeans’ wish for the UK to stay in the bloc.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage said he expected Cameron to return with a deal from Brussels, as the other leaders would recognize how “embarrassing” it would be for him to return empty-handed.

If Cameron gets a deal, he will be back home as quickly as possible to hold an emergency cabinet meeting to reach an agreed stance on remaining in the EU.

Poland along with three fellow East European countries has been objecting to Cameron’s request for a limit to welfare benefit payments for EU asylum-seekers working in Britain for four years to try and curb their numbers.

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