Prime Minister David Cameron will travel to Paris and Berlin next week for talks as Britain seeks to renegotiate its relationship with the EU, British officials said Friday.
The talks at the end of next week were announced as Cameron arrived at a summit in Riga where he is tentatively starting discussions on reforms to Britain's position in the European Union ahead of an in-out referendum on membership due by the end of 2017.
Cameron predicted as he arrived at the summit of EU leaders and six former Soviet states that there would be “ups and downs” in Britain's renegotiation bid.
But he voiced his “determination” to make a success of reform, which he says will require changes to the EU's core treaties.
Cameron will be able to gauge the possible success of any talks in Paris at the summit in Riga where he is expected to gently lay out his plans to reform the 28-nation bloc. He will hope to receive positive reaction from Europe's main leaders, like French president François Hollande and Germany's Angela Merkel.
Cameron knows he has a long road ahead of him, with a planned In/Out referendum scheduled to take place in 2017, although some suggest it may actually be held as early as next May.
“These talks will not be easy. They will not be quick. There will be different views and disagreements along the way,” said the Prime Minister before travelling to Riga.
“But by working together in the right spirit and sticking at it, I believe we can find solutions that will address the concerns of the British people and improve the EU as a whole.
“After all we are not alone in wanting to make the EU work better for people across Europe. And that is what I'm determined to do.”
Cameron's chief requirement is a change to laws surrounding access to benefits by EU migrants. Cameron wants restrictions on benefits unless migrants have lived in the country for four years.
He is also expected to demand an opt-out from one the EU's core principles of forging an “ever-closer union” between member states.