European Parliament leaders offer support on EU deal: UK

16th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

European Parliament leaders offered their support over Britain's push for EU reform after meeting Prime Minister David Cameron Tuesday, his Downing Street office said in a statement.

Cameron held talks with European Parliament head Martin Schulz and top MEPs in Brussels ahead of a crunch summit Thursday and Friday which could agree a deal to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU ahead of a referendum likely this year.

The British leader also met the leaders of the three largest groupings in the European Parliament -- Gianni Pittella, chair of the Socialists and Democrats; Manfred Weber, chair of the European People's Party and Syed Kamall, chair of the European Conservatives and Reformist Groups.

"All three made clear their support for the proposals on the table and said they were ready to take any necessary EU legislation through the European Parliament swiftly," the statement said.

The meeting was particularly sensitive because the European Parliament could theoretically unpick key parts of the deal afterwards if Britain votes to remain in the European Union.

On the meeting with Schulz and three senior MEPs who are representing the parliament in negotiations, Downing Street said they had "offered their support for solutions" and "committed to work hard to ensure that the relevant secondary legislation on the emergency brake and child benefit is swiftly adopted".

That fell short of a promise that the parliament would not alter the details of a deal.

The plan for an emergency brake on EU migrants' access to welfare payments and changes to EU migrants' ability to claim child benefit in Britain for children living overseas would require the European Parliament to vote on them after the referendum.

Cameron also met European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and the pair agreed that talks on renegotiation had "progressed well".

© 2016 AFP

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