22:11 GMT +320 February 2019
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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens during a joint news conference with Romania's Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, January 7, 2016.

    EU Wants to ‘Create Conditions’ to Keep UK Within Bloc - Merkel

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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that it was important for Berlin that London remains part of the European Union, "but of course British citizens decide in the end."

    BERLIN (Sputnik) – The European Union wants to create the necessary conditions for the United Kingdom to remain an EU member, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.

    "Certain issues still need to be clarified, but I am heading to this discussion with the attitude that we want to do everything to create conditions allowing the UK to remain part of the EU," Merkel said.

    Speaking to reporters on arrival for the two-day European Council in Brussels, Merkel stressed that it was important for Berlin that London remains part of the 28-member bloc, "but of course British citizens decide in the end."

    British Prime Minister David Cameron, who arrived earlier, said he would reject the reform deal "if it doesn’t meet what we need." European Council President Donald Tusk called the summit a "make-or-break" gathering.

    Cameron faces off with 27 fellow EU leaders to revise the terms of the United Kingdom’s membership in the bloc ahead of a "Brexit" referendum planned to be held before the end of 2017.

    London outlined four demands to Brussels comprising curbs on welfare benefits for intra-EU immigrants, financial controls on non-eurozone EU states, increasing EU competitiveness, and an opt-out for London from the European Union’s commitment to an ever-closer union.

    Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia oppose the reform proposal, in particular welfare payment curbs. Germany and France are reported to back the reform deal.


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