Although the ''Tusk's Proposals'' would need the seal of approval of the 28 member states in the upcoming EU Summit in Brussels, on February 19, there is a lot optimism in the air for David Cameron to prevail with all his most important demands. The ''Tusk's Proposals'' aim to provide Cameron with the political tailwind he needs to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union. This summer, Cameron is planning to hold a referendum on Britain's future in the EU. Only if he returns from Brussels in February with a better deal for Britain does he stand a chance or reversing the widespread EU-skepticism that characterizes the country.
Ever since they joined the European club in 1973, the British have been proving their unique ability to stir up EU politics. Prime minister Margaret Thatcher's insistence in 1980s on a British rebate in compensation for Europe's disadvantageous agricultural policies. Prime minister Tony Blair chose to shun the Germans and the French in joining the US for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But at the same time, the British have often made the Continental Europeans more cosmopolitan, more economically liberal and more invested in the Trans-Atlantic bond.
Cameron is insisting on implementing a law whereby citizens of EU countries who work in Britain will be prevented from accessing social benefits for four years. It is a clear case of discrimination and is in violation of European Union Law. For Cameron's demand to be implemented, European treaties would have to be amended--but with all 28 member states having to approve such amendments, years often pass before they are implemented and Cameron does not have that kind of time. He would like to finalize an agreement with Brussels and with his EU counterparts by February.
Even if EU leaders are able to make Cameron look like the winner of the February Summit, it is unclear if that will be enough. The opponents of Britain's continued EU membership have made up significant ground and many surveys now show them to be neck and neck with those who would like to see the UK remain part of the club.
By Guylain Gustave Moke
World Affairs Expert
Photo-Credit: Reuters-photo of: UK Prime Minister David Cameron and European Council President Donald Tusk, in London, January 31 20116.