Polish officials have said British Prime Minister David Cameron has given up on trying to reduce EU migration after he met with his polish counterpart. Mr Cameron, however, has attempted put a positive spin on a disappointing diplomatic trip to Romania and Poland.
“He made a half-hearted attempt,” one official briefed after Thursday’s talks, speaking to the Financial Times, adding: “But he knew [that the four-year curb] was off the table”.
The officials said that a “deeply worried” Prime Minister made only a weak effort to sell his renegotiation idea to restrict in-work benefits for migrants to Beata Szydlo, the new right-wing Eurosceptic Polish leader.
Ms. Szydlo said: “There are also discussions and issues about which we do not see eye to eye today”, making it clear her reservations related to the proposals on “the welfare system and child benefits”.
When asked about the Polish comments, Downing Street told the Financial Times:
“The proposal on the table is the four-year one. As the prime minister said in his speech, he is open to different ways of dealing with this issue but we do need to secure arrangements that deliver on our objectives.”
Mr. Cameron has just finished a two-day trip to Romania and Poland. Following the disappointment, he has acknowledged his failure to win round key-negotiating partners.
“It’s going to take time,” he said, insisting “there is meaningful change already under way” but “it is very difficult work, it takes time, which is why I’m not attempting to achieve everything in December, it’s going to take longer than that to get an agreement”.
Mr. Cameron has not denied that he is prepared to compromise on his plan to impose a four-year ban on migrant benefits and the referendum is no longer likely to occur before 2017, as he previously hoped.