Britain's David Cameron has urged EU leaders to show “flexibility” and “work together” to help him reduce migration numbers. The PM said “unprecedented” levels of immigration were “undermining support for the European Union” in the UK. Cameron presented his bid to reform the EU for over half-an-hour at dinner at the European Council summit in Brussels.
European Council president Donald Tusk said the talks were substantive and constructive and represented a make of break moment. Tusk said Mr. Cameron set out his position, especially on benefits and free movement. He added that leaders voiced concern but were willing to look for compromises.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: I am optimistic because we all want a compromise. But work on substance needs to be done. Treaty change might be possible. Not now but perhaps later.
French President Francois Hollande said there could be adjustments over Mr Cameron's demands but EU rules and principles must be respected.
Senior officials have cast doubt on Mr. Cameron's chances of agreement on his key proposal to curb in-work benefits for EU migrants to the UK for four years.
European Council President Donald Tusk earlier said some of his demands seemed unacceptable, while European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker was looking for other options.
Cameron wants to get a new deal for the UK before putting its membership to an in/out referendum by the end of 2017.
PM Cameron has argued that British people fear that they will be taken against their will into a political project has undermined British public trust in the EU for a number of years. He added: Are we going to find the flexibility to address the concerns of the UK and work together to fix this?
Cameron also revealed that the Referendum Bill had received Royal Assent, meaning the UK vote would definitely take place by the end of 2017, and said he was pushing for real momentum rather than striking a final deal at the summit.
He said he would be battling hard for Britain, right through the night.
Eurosceptics have dismissed the Prime Minister's reform demands as trivial, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the talks were a charade.
Labor, which wants Britain to remain in the EU, said the prime minister had botched his negotiations with European leaders. Labur leader Jeremy Corbyn, who attended a meeting of the Party of European Socialists parliamentary bloc, said the renegotiation would not succeed.
He said: They're not going to be able to make a deal on benefits as I see it, because it would be discriminatory.