EU president Donald Tusk will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron in London late Sunday, with proposals by Brussels for a reform deal to keep Britain in the union expected early next week, officials said.
Cameron is holding a series of meetings with key European leaders as talks on his demands gather pace before a crunch summit next month, and a possible referendum in June.
“Tusk will meet PM Cameron in London Sunday evening,” a spokesman for the EU president said on Thursday.
“The purpose of the meeting will be a discussion before (Tusk) finalises his proposal covering all four (British reform demands). The proposal is expected to be tabled early next week,” he said.
Cameron’s spokesman said the British leader would have a “working dinner” with Tusk at his 10 Downing Street residence.
Cameron will also meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 12 in Hamburg, the spokesman said.
These meetings are “further evidence of the desire to continue the renegotiations to work towards getting that best possible deal for the British people.
“The prime minister has said we’re working toward February. We’d like to get a deal in February but ultimately what we want to do is to get that best possible deal. If we don’t get it in February, we’ll wait until the next time,” he said.
Cameron is due to have a working lunch with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Friday, after cancelling a scheduled visit to Sweden and Denmark, his office said Wednesday.
Friday’s meeting will “discuss the UK’s renegotiation of its membership” of the European Union (EU), Downing Street said in a statement.
The British prime minister is also set to meet European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Brussels on Friday.
Cameron has set out a series of reforms he wants from Brussels in return for backing Britain’s continued EU membership in a referendum he has promised by 2017.
British officials have said that for a vote in June to go ahead as Cameron wants, then he needs to get a deal by the February 18-19 summit at the latest.
However, he has run into fierce opposition against his key demand to restrict access to the British welfare system for EU citizens and the upcoming talks promise to be difficult.
Downing Street said Friday’s meeting was “absolutely” a positive development.
Cameron’s spokeswoman told reporters: “Across Europe, we are seeing leaders — whether in the institutions or other countries — clear that they want to see a deal secured in February.”
“The ambition is there. There’s clearly more work to do,” she said.