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EU's Tusk: "more optimistic" after Cameron dinner

Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 01:54

European Council President Donald Tusk says ''hard work'' is still required on UK demands but he is ''more optimistic'' after a European Council summit dinner. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). European Council President Donald Tusk said early on Friday morning that he was more optimistic about finding a compromise with British Prime Minister David Cameron in February after a summit dinner on Thursday discussing British demands for reform of the European Union. "[W]e had a substantive and constructive discussion over dinner. I didn't want to sound too dramatic before the meeting, but I do believe that tonight was a make-or-break moment. Prime Minister Cameron set out in detail his position, in particular regarding benefits and free movement. He explained his request for a model based on four years and reiterated an openness to alternative solutions only if they could achieve the same objective. Leaders voiced their concerns but also demonstrated willingness to look for compromises. Building on this positive debate, we agreed to work together to find solutions in all four baskets raised by Prime Minister Cameron. Hard work on all baskets is still ahead of us," Tusk said. Cameron told the 27 other national leaders over dinner that if they wanted to keep Britain in the EU, they must address British voters' concerns about immigration. But despite some warm words of encouragement from European leaders, his push to curb welfare payments to migrants from the bloc was challenged by some for potentially breaking EU principles of non-discrimination and free movement of people. "We are absolutely sure that we have to be tough when it comes to some red lines and fundamental values. And I can promise you that we, we will not give up when it comes to free movement or anti-discrimination, but I know today that David Cameron is looking for fair and but also substantive compromise and this is why I am much more optimistic today than before our meeting," Tusk said. Cameron says he wants Britain to stay in the EU, but has hinted he could campaign for an exit if he fails to win an agreement that can reduce the influx of EU migrants, improve business competitiveness, give more sovereignty back to Britain and protect London's banks from discrimination by the euro zone.

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EU's Tusk: "more optimistic" after Cameron dinner

Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 01:54