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Donald Tusk’s letter on the UK’s EU renegotiation holds few surprises but the tone suggests he thinks other member states and the EU institutions could do more to meet UK demands.
7 December 2015
European Council President Donald Tusk has today written to EU leaders with his verdict on the UK’s reform demands and the state of the negotiations heading into the December EU summit. Tusk’s general remarks are that the agenda is “far-reaching” and “difficult” but that “good progress” has been made so far.
Taking the four ‘baskets’ in turn Tusk has the following to say:
There is perhaps little to surprise here and it largely reflects our earlier analysis of where member states stand on the various issues. There is of course the important issue of how these reforms would be legally enacted and enshrined, which remains outstanding.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the letter is the concluding political remarks about the negotiating process. Reading between the lines, Tusk is clearly asking other member states and the EU institutions (Commission and Parliament) to engage more constructively with Britain’s demands – which, on the flip side, suggests they haven’t so far. Here is the passage:
All involved must take their part of responsibility. I will act as an honest broker but all Member States and the institutions must show readiness for compromise for this process to succeed. Our goal is to find solutions that will meet the expectations of the British Prime Minister, while cementing the foundations on which the EU is based. Uncertainty about the future of the UK in the European Union is a destabilizing factor. That is why we must find a way to answer the British concerns as quickly as possible.
All in all then, nothing particularly surprising but the tone of the letter suggests Tusk thinks other EU states need to move closer to the UK’s position.