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Cameron 'ready to walk away' if demands not met at EU summit

By Andrew Woodcock

Published 19/02/2016

David Cameron with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
David Cameron with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

David Cameron has told EU leaders he is ready to walk away from a crunch Brussels summit without a deal today unless they give ground on key British demands and provide him with a "credible" package he can sell to voters in the upcoming referendum.

The Prime Minister urged fellow leaders to agree a new "live and let live" settlement that could resolve the "festering" problem of Britain's relationship with Europe for a generation.

As the first session of talks broke up after two-and-a-half hours, a Downing Street source said there was little sign of narrowing in differences over a number of key issues, such as migrant welfare, relations with the eurozone and the requirement for "ever-closer union".

The possibility remains a summit, described as "make or break" by European Council president Donald Tusk, could end without a breakthrough, and delaying a referendum until after the summer.

"The Prime Minister left them in no doubt that we are only going to do an agreement at this summit if we make some real progress from where we were at 8.30 this evening," said a Number 10 source.

"If we don't, we are not going to have an agreement at this summit. There is some real hard work to do overnight and we have got to see real progress."

The Downing Street source said Mr Tusk shared the PM's assessment that more movement was needed to secure a deal.

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