Thursday, 17 January 2019

Tusk to discuss Czech support for EU-Britain deal in Prague

ČTK |
5 February 2016

Prague, Feb 4 (CTK) - European Council head Donald Tusk will arrive in Prague on February 16 to discuss support for an EU-Britain draft agreement and the migrant crisis with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the latter wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

Tusk presented the draft on Tuesday. It includes a mechanism enabling to restrict the welfare benefits paid to immigrants.

Sobotka will meet Tusk ojust ahead of a February 18-19 summit of the European Union that will discuss the two topics.

Czech State Secretary for European Affairs Tomas Prouza told CTK previously that the draft agreement is acceptable for the Czech Republic.

London seeks changes in four areas. Disputes are mainly expected to accompany Britain's proposed possibility for Britain to restrict the welfare payments to immigrants from other EU countries.

The draft EU-Britain agreement also focuses on non-euro zone members´ interference in the euro-zone decision making, provides for deeper cooperation in digitisation and energy industry, and reduces the administrative burden.

Britain also seeks the right not to take part in further political integration of the EU.

Prouza said a debate on the conditions of the application of this "safeguard mechanism" will be launched.

Some countries consider London's attitude discriminatory and an interference in one of the pillars of European integration - free movement of persons.

Poland, whose citizens form the strongest group of immigrants to Britain, has been a loud opponent of the proposed measure.

Prouza said the Czech Republic considers a solution that would help keep Britain in the EU without any discrimination to be of key importance.

He texted to CTK that the Czech Republic that now presides the Visegrad Four (V4), which is also comprised of Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will do its best to contribute to the finding of an acceptable solution.

V4 representatives customarily meet ahead of EU summits to seek joint positions.

Tusk said on Tuesday the draft he released is a good basis for a compromise solution to the British demands.

British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to reach agreement on a new shape of British-EU relations before calling a referendum on Britain's EU membership, which he previously promised to do by the end of 2017.

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