Cameron eyes reform deal at EU summit, but "not in a hurry"

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday said he hopes to reach agreement on reforms during an EU leaders' summit next month but will not "rush it" if he is not satisfied with the deal offered to him.

"I want to confront this issue, I want to deal with it, I want to put that question to the British people in a referendum and go out and campaign to keep Britain in a reformed European Union," Cameron told business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"If there's a good deal on the table, I will take it and that's what will happen," he said in a keynote speech, urging businesses to publicly back his EU reform plans.

"But I do want to be very clear: If there isn't the right deal, I'm not in a hurry," he said.

"I can hold my referendum at any time up until the end of 2017, and it is much more important to get this right than to rush it."

Voters in the referendum are expected to be asked the single question: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

Many analysts expect the vote to take place in June or July if Cameron secures a deal at the February 18-19 EU summit.

Following negotiations last month, Cameron said "difficulties were raised" by EU leaders in all four areas where Britain is seeking reform: competitiveness, sovereignty, social security and economic governance.

But Cameron said he believed there was "a pathway to agreement" on Britain's demands, the most controversial of which is to limit the right of EU migrants to claim welfare benefits.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

More from Europe

Russia drops request for navy to use Spanish port under NATO pressure

Russia has withdrawn its request for warships to use the Spanish port of Ceuta on the Mediterranean Sea, the Russian...

Conservationists slam Norway at whaling conference

Conservationist groups Wednesday criticized an ongoing meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for...

EU queries Italy spending plans; Renzi threatens retaliatory veto

The European Commission has asked Italy to explain its spendthrift 2017 budget plans, it confirmed Wednesday, hours...

Calais migrant camp empty, as official announces "end of the Jungle"

All the migrants at a camp near the northern French port city of Calais have left, the official heading the Pas de...

Migrant rescues close to Libya pose security risk, EU agency says

Migrants adrift in the Mediterranean are being picked up "closer and closer" to Libyan waters, exposing rescue...