The EU-UK deal: Read all about it. Full details here.

Author: Mike Paterson | Category: News

For your delectation and delight courtesy of the European Council.

Here's the communique in full on which the President Donald Tusk said:

"I deeply believe that the UK needs Europe, and Europe needs the UK. To break the link now would be totally against our mutual interests. We have done all we could not to let that happen".

"Following intense negotiations, EU leaders achieved a deal which strengthens Britain's special status in the EU. It is a legally binding and irreversible decision by all 28 leaders. The settlement addresses all of Prime Minister Cameron's concerns without compromising EU fundamental values."

That's where Cameron gets his "special status" licence to quote from.

Elsewhere German Chancellor \Merkel was not quite so enamoured it seems, clearly aggrieved by Cameron's opposition to ever-closer union.

"I don't think we gave the UK too much,"  but then adds:

"Ever-closer union is an emotional question. We want integration to progress, and it's not easy when someone says something quite different."

On the thorny subject of migrant welfare claims though Merkel said the deal on curbing child benefits paid at a rate based on the cost of living in their home country "was I think very fair".

It applies for all equally, all 28 countries, all newly arriving [EU migrants].... so Germany can make use of it too. I can imagine Germany adopting it too.. There are very different models - Germany has quite high child benefit compared with others."

Meanwhile back in the UK the business lobby CBI have said the deal was a "major step forward" in making Europe "more competitive and prosperous". 

The group said firms would welcome a "commitment to reduce unnecessary regulation".

 Carolyn Fairbairn CBI director general adds:

Most CBI members - though not all - have told us that being in a reformed EU is better for jobs, growth and prosperity. With a final deal now in place, we will consult our members to ask for their views once again."          

The BBC has more and lots to help guide you through the minefield here

Right, that's enough for the moment from me. Time to head out and get on with the week-end duties (apart from posting here !). We'll bring you the referendum date and any other key headlines in due course.

Have an enjoyable and restful couple of days one and all.

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