Fico: Agreement with UK is Worth Keeping European Union Together

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Prime Minister Robert Fico (TASR archive)

Brussels, February 20 (TASR) – In the form of an agreement, the European Union has given the United Kingdom the second chance to stay in in the union, said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Friday evening after a two-day long EU summit in Brussels.

The compromise agreement defines relations between the EU and the UK based on requirements of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Fico considered essential how Cameron stood up to the agreement, by intending to announce a referendum in the UK in favour of staying in the EU. The referendum will take place on June 23, announced Cameron in front of 10 Downing Street on Saturday after an extraordinary session of the British Government.

With his provisos, Cameron wants to avoid abuse of social benefits in Britain. Over the course of following seven years, the UK will be able to apply for four-year long curbing of social benefits to employees coming from other EU countries and also children’s’ allowance for foreign employees’ children that do not live in the UK. For foreign workers that are already in the UK, this rule on children’s’ allowance will be valid from 2020.

A new feature that got to the agreement that the curbing of social benefits will be able to be applied by other EU countries.

The proposal has to be approved by the Council of the European Union and will also be discussed in the European Parliament.

Other areas that Cameron wanted to define are relations between members and non-members of the euro area, EU’s competitiveness and the strengthening of competencies of the national parliaments.

Fico pointed out that the possibility of double track line of the EU was officially admitted by this steps. “Because one pace of development will be in the eurozone where we all are for higher rate of integration, joining and cooperation and the other pace will be with the non-members,” said Fico.

“The agreement is worth to keep the European Union together. It would be very bad if in the time of different stances on migration there would emerge signs that we aren’t even capable of holding up together,” said Fico.