Prime Minister David Cameron has 2 weeks to convince every single country in the European Union to agree to his new deal for Britain’s membership of the EU, but a lot of Eastern European countries are really unhappy with it.Politico contacted sources inside governments across Europe and found that Eastern European EU member states are not convinced that allowing the UK to withhold in-work benefits from their citizens is a good thing.
Cameron has two weeks to convince these countries to agree to his deal. If he fails, it will make it very hard for him to call the EU referendum this year.
Here are the quotes from government officials that should scare Cameron the most. It is important to note, that while many governments are clearly not happy with the deal, most of them also say they are open to some kind of compromise. Added emphasis is ours.
Poland’s europe minister Konrad Szymański: “We can’t accept discrimination but then how does Cameron offer something for people who are against migration? We understand British concerns. They have the right to shape their labour market. The issue is discrimination.”
Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Antanas Linkevičius: “If it smells of discrimination then definitely it’s not good….It’s important to not to have discrimination…There’s some space for manoeuvre and compromise.
Czech foreign minister Tomáš Prouza: Told Politico he was “worried” about Cameron’s emergency brake. He also tweeted: “Safeguard mechanism is acceptable, crucial debate will be on how long will free movement be reduced.“
Government source: “We’re not going to compromise basic rights on European free movement”…”But we’re going to see what’s on offer during the negotiations.”
It’s not just Eastern European governments that are unhappy with the deal and this quote from a Maltese official sums up what the issue really is. The “emergency brake” gives a special treatment to the UK and that’s something that some countries, especially if they are small in economic and ge0-political power, find difficult to accept.
Maltese official: “It fundamentally comes down to the fact that principles and treaties should not be undermined”…”We want what applies to the EU, applies to everyone equally.”
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