The draft EU-UK deal was published today by the Head of European Council, Donald Tusk. It allows an emergency brake on migrant benefits. The other stick points are:
Migration: The prime minister got his emergency welfare brake. But it is not clear how easy it will be to pull that brake or how long it will last, writes deputy political editor James Landale.
Benefits: While the in-work benefits of EU migrants will be curbed for four years if other countries agree, they will be gradually restored the longer they stay in the UK. EU migrants will be able to send child benefit back home, but would get a lower level if the cost of living in the country where the child is is lower. Mr Cameron had wanted to block all of it.
Sovereignty: The PM has secured a clear legal statement that the UK is not committed to further political integration and that the phrase “ever closer union” cannot be used to integrate the EU further. But it is not yet clear when or how this will be incorporated into the EU treaties. He has also got new powers for national parliaments to block new EU laws but the thresholds are pretty high before those powers can be used.
Competitiveness: The PM has got some language that commits the EU to strengthen the internal market and cut red tape. But they have been promising to do that for years.
Protecting non-euro countries: There will be a new mechanism to get the eurozone to think again about decisions that could hit the City of London.
Security: The PM has got some unexpected gains, making it easier for countries to stop terror suspects coming into the country even if the threat they pose is not imminent. There will also be a crackdown to stop people using sham marriages and other loopholes to gain access to the EU.
The British PM David Cameron will visit Denmark and Poland on Friday over that issue.
The prime minister said “more work” needed to be done to “nail down” details but added: “We said we needed to deliver in four key areas, this document shows real progress on that front.”
He said the proposals were some “something worth fighting for”, and were good enough that he would back Britain joining the EU under these terms, if it was not already a member.
He said Britain could have the “best of both worlds” by giving it access to the single market and a voice around the top EU table, while retaining its status as a “proud independent country not part of a superstate”.
He said ministers would be free to campaign for either side in a personal capacity, but the government would “not be taking some sort of neutral position”.
“If we get this deal in February or in March or later and if the cabinet agrees to this deal the government’s position will be to campaign for Britain to stay in a reformed European Union.”
Asked by the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg if he could guarantee the reforms would cut immigration and had not been watered down, he said: “I can say, hand on heart, I have delivered the commitments made in my manifesto.”
Otherwise, Tusk said the package was “a good basis for a compromise”, adding that “there are still challenging negotiations ahead – nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.
Cameron want support by other 27 EU leaders to approved it and calls a referendum in next June. But, SNP has opposed from that and arguing it will be too close to elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, London and local authorities will hold on May.
Euroscpetics and EU leave activists has cristicised it like former defence secretary Liam Fox. He said the proposals did not “come close” to the changes voters had been promised.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Mr Cameron’s deal was “pathetic” and “hardly worth the wait”.
Conclusion: The battle of Europe is goes on.