UK-EU Renegotiation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:48 pm on 3rd February 2016.

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Photo of David Cameron David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 12:48 pm, 3rd February 2016

I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend, who has huge experience of European negotiations—both treaty negotiations and ongoing negotiations in the Council of Ministers—for what he says. He is absolutely right that these are difficult issues. My argument is that while we have the free movement of people that many British people take advantage of, we do not have harmonised welfare and benefit systems, and nor should we.

The second point I make to my colleagues in Europe is that when countries in Europe have problems that they believe affect their key national interests, we have got to be flexible enough to deal with them. I think that that is what this agreement is showing. The advantage of the proposals put forward is that they will have the support of the European Commission. I think that that will reassure some of the states in Europe that have misgivings.

My right hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right that we can also reassure those states about our investment in their security, because I think that is a very important issue. With, as it were, Putin to our east and ISIL to our south, this is a moment where we need to make sure we are working together.