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Cracks in European Parliament over draft deal for Britain

brussels bureau

Cracks in European Parliament over draft deal for Britain


The draft deal to try and keep Britain in the EU has been on the agenda at a European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg, where it has divided opinion.

The President of the European Commission is hailing it as fair for all.

“I have always said I wanted the UK to remain a member of the European Union on the basis of a fair deal,” said Jean Claude Juncker.

“The settlement that has been proposed is fair for the UK and fair for the other 27 member states. If the UK considers it is now at the limit of its integration, than that is fine.”

But some MEPs are angry about proposed concessions on migration. One Hungarian centre-right politician goes as far as saying that there could be retaliation, for example on capital flows.

“There is for example Tesco with huge investments not only in Hungary, but also elsewhere in Europe,” said György Schöpflin.

“And one or another Central European country might say to Tesco, if workers (from Central European countries) face some sort of discrimination in England, then we don’t have a problem if we use discrimination against you.”

The leader of the UK Independence Party is also blasting the draft deal, claiming that it consists of a vague series of promises, that do not go far enough.

“We were promised a substantial re-negotiation, a big change in Britain’s relationship. Indeed, ‘substantial treaty change’ is what Mr Cameron said he would deliver. But he hasn’t delivered it,” said Nigel Farage.

“So on the deal itself, it’s pretty clear that a lot of people will reject it.”

The stakes are high in all of this. A referendum vote to leave the EU would not only transform Britain’s role in world trade and affairs, but also shape the future of the bloc.

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