BELGRADE – The United Kingdom has reached a deal with the EU to help ensure that Britain will remain in the 28-nation bloc.
The agreement was first announced by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite. European Council President Donald Tusk has also confirmed “unanimous support” for the deal aimed at keeping Britain in the EU.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka called the agreement a “decent compromise.”
The new arrangement includes:
- an “emergency brake” on EU migrants claiming work benefits that will last for seven years; it will apply to an individual for no more than four years;
- an exemption for Britain from further political integration and elements of an accord to ensure fair treatment of financial and economic arrangements between euro-zone and non-euro-zone states;
- an EU-wide indexation system for payments of child benefit for workers whose children live in another EU state;
- the right for Britain to supervise financial institutions and markets to preserve stability.
Leaders met in Brussels to address the ongoing migrant crisis and its effects on the European Union. Prime Minister Cameron had threatened to rescind the UK’s membership in the EU if conditions were not met to satisfy Euroskeptics. The Visegrad bloc, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, had fiercely opposed the UK’s terms.
Now that Cameron has reached a deal with European leaders, he will have to sell it to the British public.
“Tomorrow I will present this agreement to Cabinet and on Monday I will make a statement to Parliament,” Cameron said at a newsconference after the Friday Brussels working dinner, saying he would announce the date of the Brexit (Britain staying or exiting the EU) referendum soon.
He also stressed that the agreement does not prevent the possibility of future reforms.
“There is absolutely nothing in this agreement that stops further reform taking place,” he said, reiterating that “reform does not end today.”
“The EU is not perfect. There is a need for further and continuing reform. But the UK is the best place to do that from the inside. Our plan for Europe gives us the best of both worlds. It underlines our special status through which we will be in the parts of Europe that work for us…but we’ll be out of the parts of Europe that don’t work for us,” he said.
Now that an agreement has been reached, Cameron has vowed to campaign in favor of Britain remaining in the EU.
“I believe we are stronger, safer and beter off inside a reformed European Union. And that is why I will be campaigning with all my heart and soul to persuade the British people to remain in the reformed European Union that we have secured today,” he said.
Still, the deal allows the UK to be exempt from the principle of an “ever closer union.”
“We will never join the Euro. We will never be part of Eurozone bailouts, never part of the passport free area, a European army or a European superstate.”