The UK’s EU reform proposal consists of a controversial content that migrant workers are not allowed to have social benefits in the first 4 years of entering an EU country. Other three EU reform points include protecting access to the single market for Britain and other countries outside the eurozone, and improving the EU’s competitiveness.
A public poll on January 7 showed that a majority of the British people voted for the UK to leave the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron said the government will respect public aspiration in the coming UK in-out EU referendum. But he said leaving the EU would not be a good decision and he will renegotiate with EU countries to agree on the EU reform at the bloc’s coming summit.
On January 7, Cameron visited Germany, Hungary, and the Netherlands (the EU rotating presidency) to discuss reform goals. He urged Germany to support changes to EU regulations, which is a key matter to prevent Britain from exiting from the EU.
Cameron hoped that reforms can benefit Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, and the EU as a whole. Cameron said the limitation of social welfares for migrant workers, protecting non-Eurozone countries, granting more legislative power for EU countries, and improving the EU’s competitiveness are the factors to persuade the British people to vote for the UK to stay in the EU.
In Hungary, Cameron said social welfare programs are under consideration and the UK would have alternative measures. He asked EU countries to show goodwill to agree on his EU reform proposal at February summit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel supports the UK’s reform plan in general. She said the principle of free travel in the EU remains but it doesn’t allow migrant workers to enjoy social welfare in the first years. Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban said he agreed on 3 of the 4 points.
Regarding the welfare reforms, Orban said it would lead to discrimination against migrants. But he expressed optimism on a deal to keep the UK in the EU. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also said he was relatively optimistic about keeping the UK in the bloc.