Cameron presents demands to EU
David Cameron presented on Tuesday in London the reforms that he proposes as conditions for the UK remaining in the EU. The EU must not let the British prime minister dictate the rules, some commentators argue. Others see the proposals as a good way out of the Union's never-ending crisis.
The distinctive British sense of humour
Cameron has dictated the rules to the EU with typical British humour, the Catholic daily Avvenire comments: "What Downing Street prefers to refer to as a 'flexible union of free member states' is in fact a dictate - Anglo-Saxon humour remains true to form. This is a very elegant way of underlining the growing distance between London and the Continent, the former's insuperable distrust of the EU, the euro and the community's rules. What Cameron is really saying is: Let us keep all the prerogatives, rebates and exemptions we have regarding the EU budget - and please take care not to come too close to our coastline. Only then may we do you the courtesy of remaining at least nominally in the EU. Excuse me, I mean the 'FUFMS', the Flexible Union of Free Member States."
British roulette for Europe
The EU shouldn't let itself be lulled by Cameron's recommendation to the British that they vote against a Brexit, writes the left-leaning daily Pravda, pointing out that for the British prime minister too, the outcome of the referendum is completely unforeseeable: "It's questionable whether Cameron's promise will be enough for the 27 other member countries to grant exemptions to the British, some of which run counter to the basic principles of coexistence. For example the right of Europeans to live and work where they please in the entire Union. ... The idea of a two-speed Europe is discussed at every opportunity. Cameron, however, wants to see it set down on paper. In return for the EU giving up one of the basic precepts of European integration he proposes his referendum gamble, the result of which depends on many unpredictable factors. For example how popular his government happens to be when the referendum is held, or how successful Europe has been in getting the refugee crisis under control by then."
Both sides must be willing to compromise
The EU should meet Cameron half-way on the topic of migrant workers' rights if it wants to prevent a Brexit, the liberal business paper Financial Times urges: "The one issue that will meet resistance in Europe is Mr Cameron's proposal to restrict access to in-work benefits for EU migrant workers. This will run into opposition from Poland and other eastern European states whose citizens seek opportunities to work throughout the bloc. Mr Cameron has wisely shown some flexibility, saying he is 'open to different ways of dealing with this issue'. EU leaders should similarly demonstrate some restraint. If they want to stop Brexit, the prime minister cannot be seen to fail on an issue that remains neuralgic for UK voters."
Cameron pushing for diverse forms of cooperation
The British prime minister's demands for EU reforms open up new opportunities for non-members like Switzerland, writes the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger: "Cameron's proposals for lowering immigration are confined to measures against so-called benefit tourism. They entail the demand that freedom of movement should not automatically give migrants access to the social welfare system of another country - something that many European capitals endorse. … What Cameron outlined yesterday is not a horror vision of Europe. On the contrary, it is the image of an EU that breaks with the logic of an ever tighter Union and in view of the constant crises it faces finds new and diverse forms of cooperation. … For countries like the UK the EU will always be an economic project; for the EU core state it is also a commitment to certain ideals. And for countries like Switzerland that don't want to join, the prospect of flexible solutions - and a third way - is increasing."