Tusk to publish proposal for UK-EU settlement

Updated: 2016-02-02 09:22


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Tusk to publish proposal for UK-EU settlement

British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) speaks with European Council President Donald Tusk at Downing Street in London, Britain, January 31, 2016.[Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - European Council president Donald Tusk said he will table a proposal on Tuesday for a new settlement for Britain's relationship with the European Union (EU) after "good progress" in talks has been made.

"Tomorrow around noon I will table proposal for a new settlement for UK in EU. Good progress last 24 hours but still outstanding issues," Tusk announced Monday on his Twitter account.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Tusk are finalizing a package of measures over Britain's relationship with the EU.

Intensive negotiations were being carried out by British and EU officials on Monday in an attempt to reach a deal to put to an EU leaders' summit for debate on February 18 and 19.

Cameron and Tusk met and held talks over dinner at Downing Street on Sunday, but failed to reach a deal. Tusk agreed to give an extra 24 hours for further talks before publishing his proposals on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Downing Street said "much progress has been made", but "there is still more hard work required."

A Downing Street spokesperson said the prime minister had secured a "significant breakthrough" in the talks, meaning that Cameron can deliver on his commitment to restrict in-work benefits to EU migrants for four years by triggering the "emergency brake" proposed by EU officials.

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 under the condition that it could prove its welfare system was "under excessive strain".

According to an earlier EU proposal, the "emergency brake" could be imposed within three months after Britain applies and other EU members states agree. Cameron said the proposal is "not good enough" and wanted the brake to be enforced right after Britain's EU referendum with no time limit.

Tusk has stressed that an agreement between the EU and Britain must be acceptable for all 28 EU member states, and there would be "no compromise on fundamental freedoms."

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.