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EU reform proposals show 'real progress': British PM

Updated: 2016-02-03 09:36

EU reform proposals show 'real progress': British PM

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to factory staff at the Siemens plant in Chippenham, southern England, February 2, 2016.[Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday that the draft European Union (EU) reform proposals released by European Council President Donald Tusk have showed real progress in all four areas where Britain needs change but there's more work to do.

Cameron made the remarks on twitter soon after EU reform proposals had been released.

He later said in an interview with the BBC that the draft text delivers "substantial change" in Britain's relationship with the EU. He said there are "important things" still to be worked on, with "more detail to be nailed down" over the coming days.

He also acknowledged there is a negotiation with the rest of Europe in the offering but he said "real progress" has been made in his four main negotiating objectives.

The proposals released by Tusk will allow for an "emergency brake" on benefits for migrant workers to be imposed immediately after Britain votes in favor of remaining in the union.

Speaking at Siemens UK headquarters in Wiltshire, Cameron said: "Britain is better off, more secure, more prosperous, better chance of success for all our families and all our people inside this reformed European Union" if it can secure and improve EU reform proposals.

"We are never going to sign up to an ever-closer union, we are going to make sure we maintain our independence as a country and I think we will be able to argue the best of both worlds," he added.

British Home Secretary Theresa May, who has held a tough stance toward EU immigrants, said the proposals addressed key concerns of Britain about the "abuse" of EU free movement principles and the use of EU law to prevent the deportation of foreign criminals.

"It is encouraging that the commission has agreed with the UK that we should take action to address these two issues," she said in a statement.

"So we have made progress and negotiations continue ahead of the February council. As the Prime Minister has said, more work needs to be done, but this is a basis for a deal," she noted.

May's remarks have been seen as a boost for Cameron's campaign to let Britain stay in "a reformed EU."

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also hailed the proposals as "a major step forward."

"UK has taken major step forward on EU reform and crossed lines we were told were uncrossable," he tweeted.

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