David Cameron and Viktor Orbán in Budapest. They’re not shaking hands over any in-work benefits deal [Image: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images].


Does anybody else get the impression that we’ll keep being told a deal will happen, but the date will be pushed back and back again as EU countries queue up to refuse it?

Cameron’s dream of getting Europe to accept his demands is proving to be just that – a dream.

Consensus is growing among pro- and anti-EU campaigners that the referendum on Britain’s membership of the bloc will not be held until September, amid signs that a deal on David Cameron’s reform proposals will be delayed until March.

As the prime minister faced calls from Viktor Orbán, his Hungarian counterpart, to alter his proposal to ban EU citizens from claiming in-work benefits for four years, sources on both sides played down the prospect of a deal by No 10’s preferred date of February.

The two camps agree that more work will need to be done to address concerns in eastern and central Europe that the benefits proposal is discriminatory.

A failure to reach a deal at an EU summit next month would push the negotiations to the annual spring European council in mid-March, making September the earliest date that a referendum could be held.

Source: EU referendum expected in September as hopes fade of deal next month | Politics | The Guardian

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