Ahead of the summit opening, the representatives of the main EU institutions expressed their support to reach an agreement with Britain in order to keep the country as its member.
If the discussion is successful, it allows David Cameron to launch a referendum and back country’s membership in the EU.
SOUNDBITE (GERMAN) MARTIN SCHULZ, President of the European Parliament:
“As European Parliament we have a great interest in ensuring the UK remains a member of the EU. Together we are stronger and we will work constructively to ensure that what is agreed is actually put into legislative form in the EU.”
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH)JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, President of the European Commission:
“I am confident we will have a deal during this European Council. We have to sort out a certain number of questions and I am convinced Britain will be a constructive member of the EU.”
But the agreement faces resistance to some of PM Cameron’s key demands from other EU leaders.
The east Europeans have for instance rejected the proposed restriction of how child benefits are paid to their citizens working in Britain.
British demand for greater powers to national parliaments to block EU legislation or explicit recognition that the euro is not the only currency of the EU are also posing questions among block’s members.
The reform package is long and the deal, although highly expected, remains uncertain.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) DAVID CAMERON, British PM
“If we can get a good deal I take that deal, but I won’t take a deal which doesn’t meet what we need. I think it is much more important to get things right than in a rush.”
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) DONALD TUSK, President of the European Council
“We are in the middle of still very difficult and sensitive negotiations on the UK question. One thing is clear for me though. This is a make or break summit. I have no doubts.”