Britain seeks a deal with the E.U. as membership hangs in the balance

Griff Witte, The Washington Post, 18.02.2016

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British Prime Minister David Cameron was locked early Friday in intense talks with his fellow European Union leaders on a deal that could set the tone for what is expected to be a bruising campaign to decide whether the United Kingdom leaves the 28-member bloc. [...]

But even as the leaders haggled, analysts said the prime minister would need to settle for an agreement that falls well short of his original intention to fundamentally renegotiate Britain’s ­relationship with the E.U.

“What he will get is not revolutionary,” said Janis Emmanouilidis, director of studies at the ­Brussels-based European Policy Center. “This won’t change Europe.”

A British exit, however, very much would.  [...]

The country has long been an ambivalent E.U. member, but it remains one of the bloc’s cornerstones. If the country votes to leave in a referendum expected in June, it could trigger a broader European unraveling at a time when continental unity is being strained by a refugee crisis, renewed Russian aggression, terrorist attacks and rising nationalism.

If Britain voted to leave, Emmanouilidis said, it would probably embolden “anti-E.U. voices in other member states saying there is a way out.” [...]

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