David Cameron in Riga to press EU leaders on UK Government demands


Prime Minister will push for an end to EU migrants right to claim social security

DAVID CAMERON has begun talks over renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the European Union (EU) at a summit in Latvia’s capital city of Riga.

On entering the talks, Cameron played down the possibility of striking a deal quickly, stating that the summit, which is supposed to be focused on the EU’s relationship with former soviet states, was simply an early opportunity for him to test the waters with EU leaders about their willingness to alter European Union structures.

He said: “It is an opportunity to start some of the discussions about the reform of the European Union. There will be ups and downs – you’ll hear one day this is possible, the next day something else is impossible.

“But one thing throughout all of this will be constant and that is my determination to deliver for the British people a reform of the European Union so they get a proper choice in that referendum we hold – an in/out referendum before the end of 2017.

“That will be constant. But there’ll be lots of noise, lots of ups and downs along the way.”

Cameron has been emboldened by his re-election as Prime Minister, this time as a majority Conservative government, to pursue his agenda with his EU counterparts, hoping the General Election result will pressure European leaders to take seriously the UK’s concerns.

Cameron wants to ban migrants travelling between EU states from receiving social security benefits in their host EU country. The UK would like to set the period of time an EU migrant has to be in the UK before they receive benefits at four years.

Other Conservative demands include seeking an exclusion from the EU’s principle of ever closer union, and allowing national parliaments to co-ordinate together to block change.

Cameron has dug his heels in on the issue of reducing the number of migrants coming to the UK to under 100,000 a year, after the recent migration figures showed a 50 per cent rise in net migration in 2014 to 318,000.

However, he has not made it clear how he will seek to make this change happen. Germany, the largest country and biggest economy in the EU, has made it clear that the principle of free movement across the EU will be non-negotiable.

Picture courtesy of Number 10