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Politics & press news – Embassy 60

EU envoys urge debate on #UKinEU

EU heads of mission in London must “engage” the British public in debate on Britain’s membership of the EU now that Prime Minister Cameron has fired the starting gun for negotiations.

Estonian Ambassador Lauri Bambus urged EU heads of mission in a tweet to “discuss #EUinUK issues with British people.” 

Austrian Ambassador Martin Eichtinger told Embassy: “The referendum should generate “a major debate in the UK... so that the British public can make an informed decision.”

Cyprus High Commissioner Euripides Evriviades said Cyprus would be “constructive and creative” in talks, with the goal of “not jeopardising” the UK’s EU membership.

The EU Commission London Office spokesman said they would be “listening” to the views of the British people and “explaining” EU policy to stakeholders and the media.

Of Britain’s four negotiating positions, working toward a more competitive EU and a stronger role for national parliaments were “doable”; safeguards for non-euro countries would “require discussion”; but measures relating to free movement, such as restricting in-work benefits to EU migrants, will be “very difficult” said diplomats.

The EU London Representation said this would be “highly problematic” because it would effectively mean direct discrimination between EU Citizens. However they noted Cameron’s openness to finding ways around the thorny issue (such as the option of basing benefits on residency not nationality).

But as one envoy noted: “With the EU, a deal is always doable. The real question is: will it be deliverable to the British people?”


The Prime Minister sets out the UK position

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