STRASBOURG (Reuters) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made clear on Wednesday that he would seek a “fair deal” in negotiations with Britain on its continued EU membership but that it must maintain key freedoms, including labor mobility.
In an annual written statement to the European Parliament and member states on the EU executive’s priorities, he cited, among major challenges facing the Union, “The challenge of working on a fair deal for the United Kingdom within a European Union committed to the four freedoms of the single market and the values which all 28 member states share.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to rework terms of membership to address, among other concerns, Britain’s desire to reduce immigration from other EU states - an issue that EU leaders say must not conflict with citizens’ freedom to work anywhere in the bloc that they choose.
Juncker is expected to address the British issue further in an annual State of the Union speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, starting after 9 a.m. (0700 GMT).
Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Clarence Fernandez