Irish premier hopes for UK EU deal next month
Irish premier Enda Kenny said Monday he was hopeful that a deal to keep Britain in the EU could be sealed next month after talks with Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday.
Britain is due to hold an in-out referendum on its membership of the European Union by the end of 2017, though analysts say it is likely to take place this year.
Cameron has outlined four main areas in which he wants reforms for a deal to take to voters, the most controversial of which involves trying to limit the number of workers coming to Britain from elsewhere in the EU.
The Conservative leader is hoping to reach a deal at an EU summit in Brussels on February 18-19.
Kenny told a press conference in London that he wanted Britain to remain a "central" member of the EU, calling it "a really critical issue".
He said there were "complications" with "one or two" of Cameron's proposed reforms but voiced confidence that these could be "sorted".
"I would hope personally that it might be possible to do it in February but then I can't speak for all of the other countries around the table," Kenny added.
The Irish premier, whose country is one of Britain's largest trading partners, also indicated that EU president Donald Tusk would circulate a draft of proposals for a deal ahead of the summit.
"President Tusk will table a paper, probably next week, in regard to the four issues that the prime minister put on the table," Kenny said.
Cameron insisted again Monday he would hold out if necessary for "the right deal".
"I'd rather get it right than do it in a rush," he said.
A Survation opinion poll for the Mail on Sunday newspaper earlier this month indicated that 53 percent of people wanted Britain to leave the EU, compared to 47 in favour of remaining.
© 2016 AFP