Is that supposed to be a smile? Cameron looks shell-shocked [Image: Reuters].

There appear to be a few flaws in this ‘draft deal’.

David Cameron has a history of ‘forgetting’ important little details – we all remember when he ‘forgot’ to apply for money from the European Union’s Solidarity Fund to help people affected by the floods in February 2014.

Has he forgotten to tell Donald Tusk that a four-year ban on in-work benefits for EU migrant workers means his government is likely to have phased out tax credits altogether, by the time they become eligible for those benefits again?

It seems to This Writer that any agreement for in-work benefits to be “graduated”, with more tax credits payable to migrants the longer they stay in the UK, is not worth the paper it is written on.

There’s provision for a new ‘red card’ system in which member states can band together to block unwanted EU laws. But it follows on from a ‘yellow card’ system, in which states can link up to tell the European Commission it has gone beyond its remit in making laws – a system that has been largely ignored because only a small number of EU laws attracted dissent from enough member states.

The opt-out of ‘ever-closer union’ will be written into a future treaty. Terrific. Let’s hope that treaty doesn’t write the UK out of anything that will be of benefit to this nation.

Meanwhile, has anyone see anything about Cameron’s demand to cut down on the amount of regulation coming from Brussels, in what he says will be a boost for competitiveness? There is no specific target to cut the regulatory burden and mention of “lowering administrative burdens and compliance costs” and “a burden reduction implementation mechanism” amount to nothing at all.

What about his demand that countries not in the Eurozone will not be penalised for their choice not to be part of the single currency? British taxpayers’ money won’t be available to prop up the Eurozone’s financial commitments – but was it ever? And supervision of financial institutions not in the Eurozone will remain with their respective national governments – again, as before. The reassurances that Eurozone members could not ‘gang up’ to impose financial measures to the detriment of the City, here in the UK, are so wishy-washy they amount to nothing at all.

It seems this is half a deal, rather than significant progress. And let’s remember that many prominent politicians – including those in his own party – believe he Cameron’s demands were pointless in the first place.

David Cameron has said a draft deal on his reform demands delivers the “substantial change” he wants to see to the UK’s relationship with the EU.

But the UK prime minister said there is “detail to be worked on” before a crunch summit on 18-19 February.

The deal, published by European Council President Donald Tusk, allows for an “emergency brake” on migrant benefits.

Source: Draft EU deal delivers ‘substantial’ reforms – Cameron – BBC News

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