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#Brexit: Cameron hoppas på en uppgörelse försenad när samtalen fortsätter

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david-cameronDavid Cameron’s hopes of getting a reform deal on Friday look in doubt as haggling continues at the EU summit. European leaders have reportedly been told to book hotels as talks on a final text, planned for breakfast, slipped back first to lunch, and now to dinner.

Flera EU-länder gräver i klackar över planer på att stävja förmåner för migranter och ändra EU:s regler.

Den brittiske premiärministern hade planerat att återvända till Storbritannien för att avfyra startpistolen för en EU-folkomröstningskampanj på fredagen.

He sounded cautiously optimistic on Friday morning, saying there had been ‘some progress’ in marathon all night talks, which broke up at 05:30. But stumbling blocks still remain after a day of one-to-one meetings and there is speculation talks will continue into Saturday.

The original aim had been to conclude the deal at an “‘English breakfast’ meeting on Friday, which became an ‘English brunch’, then an ‘English lunch’ and has now been delayed to dinner.

Cameron’s plan had been to head back to London, with a deal in his pocket, for an emergency cabinet meeting at which he would commit the government to campaign for Britain to stay in a reformed EU. That would trigger the start of the referendum campaign and allow ministers who want Britain to leave the EU to speak out.

But Downing Street sources said it was increasingly unlikely a cabinet meeting would now be held on Friday. They said it was still possible a deal could be done but they “genuinely don’t know” whether it will happen.

Annons

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

När han anlände till mötesplatsen på fredagsmorgonen gjorde Frankrikes president François Hollande det klart att Frankrike fortsätter att motstå en överenskommelse om finansiell reglering som syftar till att skydda City of London från nya regler som införts av länderna i euroområdet.

“Since last night, there are proposals that have been changed, notably on what concerns France – the wish to have a financial regulation system which is valid in all parts of Europe, and that there should be no right of veto or prevention.”

The first EU Council session ended on Thursday with no agreement on several issues, and an EU source said that while it had been ‘intense and constructive’ with all the countries confirming their wish for the UK to stay in the bloc, some also set out specific concerns.

“We expected this,” the EU source said: “But honestly we had hoped for some of them to be less critical.”

En EU-källa talade om fem nyckelområden där enighet inte nåtts:

  • How the EU’s binding treaties will be altered to make the changes
  • How many member states can trigger an “emergency brake” on migrant welfare
  • Hur länge ett medlemsland kan införa begränsningar av arbetsförmåner för migranter
  • Om barnbidragsbegränsningar kan tillämpas i efterhand
  • Changing treaties to alter the principle of “ever-closer” union

Det är underförstått att Cameron fortsätter att möta motstånd mot sina planer på att begränsa arbetsförmåner för EU-migranter.

Men han tros ha avvisat uppmaningar från de centraleuropeiska nationerna, representerade i samtalen över natten av den tjeckiske premiärministern Bohuslav Sobotka, om att nedskärningar av barnbidraget för avkommor som bor utomlands endast ska åläggas nya migranter.

Belgium – backed by France – proposed that the summit conclusions should state that any deal agreed this week is final and the EU will not come back with an improved offer if Britain votes to leave.

Flytten är utformad för att döda idén, med stöd av några euroskeptiker, att en omröstning om Lämna skulle ge Storbritannien hävstång för att utvinna ytterligare eftergifter från EU innan en andra omröstning.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he expected Mr Cameron to come back with a deal from Brussels, as the other leaders would recognise how “embarrassing” it would be for him to return empty-handed.

But he added: “He hasn’t asked for us to get back supremacy for our Parliament, he hasn’t asked for us to control our own borders, he hasn’t asked to reduce the vast daily fees we pay.

“We will be allowed – after he has come here like Oliver Twist and begged for concessions – to control migrant benefits for up to four years. I find the whole thing as a British person pretty shameful.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would be campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU – but he branded David Cameron’s renegotiations “a theatrical sideshow, designed to appease his opponents within the Conservative Party”.

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