British Prime Minister David Cameron has reportedly insisted that he is making progress with his renegotiation of the UK's relationship with Brussels ahead of the EU referendum, which is expected in 2016. But the Conservative leader claimed the current reform deal from EU grandees is "not good enough".
The warning came after Cameron's meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on 29 January. The prime minister wants the EU to agree to four main reforms, including an opt-out for the UK of the "ever closer union" clause.
But the top Tory has faced opposition from some EU leaders, particularly the Visegrád Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), over his proposal to stop EU migrants in the UK from accessing welfare payments for up to four years.
Cameron said he was "open to alternatives" when he recently visited Prague and the country's premier, Bohuslav Sobotka, mooted the idea of a so-called "emergency break". The measure, among other things, would see EU members apply to Brussels in a bid to withdraw in-work-benefits from EU migrants.
Cameron and Juncker were expected to discuss the proposal when the pair met on 29 January. But the prime minister left the meeting saying the EU's offer was "not good enough". He told ITV News: "We've made some progress today. It's not enough, it's going to be hard work. I can't be certain we'll get there in February but I will work as hard as I can to deliver a good deal for the British people."
The 49-year-old is now scheduled to meet Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, on 31 January to discuss his reform plan. The high-ranking politicians will hold the talks at Number 10.
The latest telephone opinion poll from Ipsos MORI, of more than 1,000 people between 23 and 25 January, put "remain" 19 points ahead of "leave" (55% against 36%, respectively).