BUCHAREST (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron is confident that solutions will be found in every area of his renegotiation of the terms of Britain’s membership of the European Union, he said during a visit to Bucharest on Wednesday.
Cameron is seeking a new deal from the 28-nation bloc ahead of a referendum on whether to stay in or leave which he has promised to hold by the end of 2017.
“At next week’s summit we will have substantive discussions about all the reforms that I’ve proposed and I‘m confident we can find solutions in each area,” Cameron told reporters after talks with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
“The EU has shown before it has the sensibility to respond to the concerns of member states. And now it needs to do so again, starting in December and then with further discussions in February.”
Cameron has already said that he does not expect to clinch a deal at a European Council meeting scheduled to take place on Dec. 17-18, but wants to “focus minds” on changes he is seeking.
European Council President Donald Tusk has said that discussions next week “should pave the way for a deal in February”.
One of the most contentious issues is London’s demand to cut certain benefits for EU migrants to Britain. Cameron said in Bucharest that he recognized welfare reforms were one of the most difficult areas in the renegotiation.
Cameron also said current net migration to Britain was unsustainable, a theme that is at the heart of the public debate back home about the pros and cons of being in the EU.
“I support the principle of free movement for work. But it was never envisaged that free movement would trigger quite such vast numbers of people moving across our continent. Net migration into the UK is well over 300,000 a year and that is not sustainable.”
Reporting by Luiza Ilie, writing by Radu Marinas, editing by Estelle Shirbon