Europe's leaders weigh Cameron's proposed EU reform deal

Donald Tusk, EU Council President (L) with David Cameron, UK prime minister (26 Jan) Image copyright AP
Image caption The draft deal offers the UK a brake on eurozone legislation that it feels may harm non-eurozone states

My first instinct is that this is something everyone can work with.

Eastern and Central European countries will continue to complain about the suspension of migrant in-work benefits.

They are likely to argue that the EU has sold its principles down the river in an attempt to keep the UK in the EU.

They have to be seen by their own voters as protecting the right to live and work in any other member state. That's a founding principle of the European Union.

However, it can be argued from this text that the so-called "emergency brake" is not discriminatory because it's available for any country to use.

UK-EU draft deal - Latest updates

What you need to know

Other elements of the section on migrant benefits, such as child allowances and sham marriages, are unlikely to raise many eyebrows. All 28 member states want to clamp down on any potential abuse of the welfare system.

The French will be delighted there is no proposal for a UK veto over eurozone legislation.

But the UK does get to pull a different brake, this time on eurozone legislation that it fears may be detrimental to non-eurozone countries. In practice, the UK government is particularly concerned with protecting the City of London.

According to the draft deal, eurozone members must "respect the competencies, rights and obligations of member states whose currency is not the euro". It allows the UK to call a summit of EU leaders if it is deeply concerned.

Beefing up

The "red card" system trumpeted by Number 10, which would enable a majority of national parliaments to club together to object to or veto European Commission proposals, is unlikely to prove contentious.

It appears to be a beefing up of the little-used "yellow card" system whereby national parliaments can raise concern if they believe an issue could better be dealt with at home rather than in Brussels.

However the government will hope it will sound good in terms of wrestling back powers from Brussels to the UK - and to other EU countries.


Further reading on the UK's EU referendum

Image copyright Reuters

Guide: All you need to know about the referendum

Referendum timeline: What will happen when?

Q&A: What does Britain want from Europe?

More: BBC News EU referendum special


More on this story