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A crucial European Council meeting mainly devoted to the UK

On the first day of the European Council meeting, they discussed proposals to change the UK’s relationship with the bloc, while there is optimism that a deal can be struck, there are still difficulties ahead, The Wall Street Journal Europe sums matters up.

While – as El Mundo reports – David Cameron and other European leaders yesterday continued to struggle over each word in the draft conclusion to be voted today – the restriction of social benefits still being the biggest stumbling block, according to Latvian media – EU sherpas in Brussels seemed convinced that the EU and Britain would reach an agreement, La Stampa notes. Politicians are “play-acting” before the cameras, but diplomats are confident that a deal can be reached, Le Figaro echoes in an analysis.

EC President Juncker said he was confident that Britain will have a cooperative and constructive role in the Union, Irish, Italian, Belgian, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian Czech, Finnish, Estonian, Lithuanian, Croatian and Russian media report. European Council President Tusk – who, according to TVP Info, declared himself “moderately optimistic” before the summit – said the European Council meeting was a “make-or-break” meeting during which the main objective consists in finding a compromise for the UK to stay part of the EU “without jeopardising the group’s unity,” sources such as Le Figaro and La Stampa report.

The aim is not only to have Prime Minister David Cameron return to London as triumphantly as possible but also to preserve the credibility of European Community Law, Die Presse comments. EU member states will be primarily concerned with giving David Cameron an opportunity to make it look like he heroically fought for the rights of his voters, giving them little room to make any progress on other issues, Deutschlandfunk comments. London, Berlin, Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg, Luxemburger Wort further claims in an editorial, will make every effort to demonstrate relief and determination after a long night, which aims to present British PM David Cameron as a hero.

Speaking as he arrived at the summit, Mr Cameron called for a “credible” deal and said he would not “take a deal that doesn’t meet what [the British] need.” In response, French President Hollande said “nothing can stop Europe from advancing,” Le Figaro and the WSJE report, but he also admitted that an agreement preventing Britain from leaving the EU is “possible because it is necessary,” El Mundo highlights.

As to German Chancellor Merkel, she reiterated her support for the UK to remain in the EU, Greek, Romanian and Slovakian media report. David Cameron’s final EU negotiations are taking place amid warnings that a Brexit could lead to “the unraveling of the European project,” the FT‘s front page claims. “Never has the Union been so close to disintegration,” writes Le Figaro’s Isabelle Lasserre.

 

©europeanunion2016

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