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David Cameron visits Brussels and France for last-minute talks on referendum

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Parts of the UK’s renegotiation deal will require legislative changes that will need the support of MEPs after a British referendum. As such, Cameron visited Brussels to talk with European Parliament president Martin Schulz and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

His visit with the former, however, revealed some unsettling news. According to Shulz, Cameron’s EU reforms cannot be made legally binding before the British public make a vote. 

“No government can go to a parliament and ask for a guarantee about the result,” he said, further adding: “This is a democracy. Once the frame is agreed, we will start the legislative process. This is not a veto.” 

While this means that Britain may not get the deal agreed by Cameron if the UK stays in the EU, Schulz pledged that MEPs would be “constructive”, “fair” and bring clarity to the deal.

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This comes after Cameron claimed the EU deal would be legally binding. He said on 6 February: “If it is agreed, it will be agreed as a legally binding treaty deposited at the United Nations. It would only be reversible if all 28 countries, including Britain, agreed to reverse it.”

His next port of call is talking with Juncker, who said ahead of the meeting there would be “no plan B” when it comes to Britain leaving the EU.

Juncker said: “If I would say now that we have a plan B, this would indicate a kind of willingness of the commission to envisage seriously that Britain could leave the European Union. So I am not entering into the details of a plan B, because we don’t have a plan B, we have a plan A.”

This follows talks between Cameron and French president Francois Hollande, which a Downing Street spokesman suggested had been a “constructive discussion”.

The spokesperson said: “The prime minister and president Hollande had constructive discussions on both the UK renegotiation and Syria in Paris this evening. They agreed that we are making good progress on the UK renegotiation and that the draft text from the European Council provides a firm basis to reach agreement at this week’s summit.”

Meanwhile, European Council president Donald Tusk, who is overseeing the UK’s renegotiation, warned that talks on the draft deal were “fragile”. He warned that the negotiations were at a “critical moment” and “the risk of break-up is real”.

According to a report by Bertelsmann Stiftung, UK firms fear a negative impact on companies were Britain to relinquish its title of EU member state.

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