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V4 agrees on joint stance on British demands in Prague

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Prague, Feb 15 (CTK) – The Visegrad Four (V4) countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, have agreed on their joint position on the British demands for the EU reform, Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters after the V4 summit on Monday.

He will inform European Council President Donald Tusk, who will visit Prague, about it on Tuesday.

Primarily the proposals for limiting some welfare payments might be problematic.

Slovak PM Robert Fico told reporters then that the V4 objections concerned, for instance, some special benefits connected with work in Britain.

“It should apply only to the people who are yet to come to Britain and not to those who have already been working there,” he added, commenting on the joint stance.

Fico also spoke about for how long Britain could introduce special measures, saying maximally seven years were mentioned.

Fico did not say whether Slovakia would support British proposals eventually.

He added that talks would continue.

Tusk said on Twitter on Monday that the talks on the British demands for the EU reform are in a critical phase and that the risk of Britain leaving the EU is real.

According to a draft agreement between the EU and Britain, which Tusk released recently, London could restrict the payment of social benefits to the people who are not British citizens if the British welfare system faced an unsustainable pressure.

Mainly Central European countries view the introduction of “a protective mechanism” as discriminatory. The Czech Republic has also raised objections to the draft.

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