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EU Leaders Plan to Reach Compromise on UK Reform Proposals by February

© AP Photo / Geert Vanden WijngaertEuropean Council President Donald Tusk speaks during a final media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, June 26, 2015
European Council President Donald Tusk speaks during a final media conference after an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, June 26, 2015 - Sputnik International
EU leaders will work with the United Kingdom on its reform proposals for the bloc in order to reach an agreement by February 2016, European Council President Donald Tusk said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) and European Parliament President Martin Schulz address a press conference at the European Commission ahead of a EU leaders' summit in Brussels, on December 17, 2015 - Sputnik International
Implementation of UK Proposals on EU Reforms to Take Up to Six Years
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – EU leaders will work with the United Kingdom on its reform proposals for the bloc in order to reach an agreement by February 2016, European Council President Donald Tusk said.

UK Prime Minster David Cameron has repeatedly said that EU membership is beneficial for the United Kingdom, but only if the bloc were to implement new reforms. On Thursday, Cameron presented the European Council with his case for the bloc's reforms.

The EU summit discussing Cameron’s reform demands ended shortly before midnight on Thursday.

"After today’s discussion we can say that we have made significant progress," Tusk said after the meeting, noting "good atmosphere and good will" of the discussion.

According to Tusk, Thursday was a "make or break" moment and Cameron laid out his reform proposals in detail, particularly on benefits and free movement. Tusk said he was "much more optimistic" on the issue after the Thursday meeting.

"Following today’s substantive and constructive debate the members of the European Council agreed to work closely together to find mutually satisfactory solutions in all the four areas at the European Council meeting on February 2016," Tusk said.

Cameron told a press conference after the Thursday meeting that progress had been achieved but the pathway to a February deal would be hard.

London wants the right not to commit itself to EU's pledge of an "ever closer union," curb social benefits for EU migrants, secure greater protections for non-eurozone countries in the EU bloc, and more power for the national government.

Cameron pledged during his pre-election campaign to hold a referendum on the so-called Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union, before the end of 2017.

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