The European Union and the United Kingdom agreed that Britain could immediately curb welfare payments to EU migrants.
The European Council President Donald Tusk has agreed that Britain meets the requirement that will allow London to curb in-work benefit payments to EU migrants, the Downing Street spokesperson said.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to renegotiate his country’s EU membership. Brussels said earlier it was mulling a four-year “emergency brake” on benefits to new EU migrants – but only if London proves that the UK welfare system is under excessive strain.
“On welfare, the Commission has tabled a text making clear that the UK’s current circumstances meet the criteria for triggering the emergency brake,” Cameron’s spokesperson said in a press release.
“This is a significant breakthrough, meaning the Prime Minister can deliver on his commitment to restrict in-work benefits to EU migrants for four years,” the statement continued.
Cameron and Tusk met in London on Sunday in a bid to finalize a batch of draft proposals for EU reform in four areas, set out by the UK prime minister. The draft renegotiation deal will then be scrutinized by EU leaders ahead of a summit on February 18-19.
Cameron’s office said much had been done but “there is still more hard work required,” including on economic governance and abuse of free movement, meaning Britain has to do more to close backdoor routes into its territory for undocumented non-EU migrants.
Sherpas from Brussels and London are expected to meet on Monday to try and resolve all outstanding issues. On Tuesday, the European Council president will circulate the resulting draft text to all EU member states.
Earlier, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond stated that UK plan to limit work benefits for EU migrants is an attempt to curb the bloc’s interference in British everyday life.
UK main goals are to decrease migration within the European Union and show that “EU intervention in our national life” has passed the “high water mark,” Hammond said after visiting all EU member states to canvas support for the United Kingdom’s renegotiation of its EU membership, as quoted by The Telegraph.