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Lidington in Vilnius: Britain may hold EU referendum before summer holiday

BC, Vilnius, 18.01.2016.Print version
Britain may hold a referendum on the country's EU membership before the summer holidays, if it reaches an agreement with EU partners on demanded reforms, British Minister of State for Europe David Lidington said in Vilnius on January 15h, 2016, informs LETA/BNS.

"No decisions have been taken about the timing of the referendum but a February deal would mean that a referendum before the summer holiday period is possible," he said in an interview with BNS.


The vote could take place in June or July, Lidington said, and if postponed, then between September and November. Without a deal in February, the referendum would be held next year, the minister said.


British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to agree on EU reforms ahead of such a referendum, with the most controversial of his demands being the wish to restrict benefits for EU migrants for at least the first four years.


Critics say such a move would be discriminatory and against the EU principle of free movement.


Lidingston said the British prime minister would be ready to discuss alternatives, stressing, however, that the EU should take into account the Brits' concerns over the growing population and dissatisfaction that benefits are paid to immigrants who had not paid any taxes.


Cameron also wants EU red tape to be cut and for Brussels to give more power to member states. He also demands to protect Britain from deeper political integration in the EU and economic decisions made by 19 eurozone countries.

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