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Cameron: European summit is 'milestone' for Britain

Prime Minister David Cameron said that the European Council summit in Brussels today is a "milestone" for Britain in the process of its renegotiation with the EU.

Today marks a significant milestone in the process of saying it is right for Britain to have this renegotiation and this referendum to address the concerns that the British people have about Europe and to make sure the British people have a final say about whether we stay in a reformed European Union or leave.

But today we're also discussing this vitally important issue of European migration where we need a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach and Britain will play its role.

– Prime Minister David Cameron

He said that along with existing aid and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, his government is also looking at how to tackle criminal gangs that are trafficking people across Africa and into Europe.

"I look forward to discussing what more Britain can do to help with this crisis," he added.

  1. Chris Ship

Europe leaders 'do not consider referendum a priority'

David Cameron has had one-to-one discussions with all 27 European leaders. Credit: PA

David Cameron plans to complete his one-to-one discussions will all 27 other leaders of the European Union before this afternoon's summit in Brussels.

He will meet with the leaders of Portugal, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Austria.

And he will talk by phone with the leaders of Croatia and Greece - despite the debt crisis in which the Greek Prime Minister is currently wrapped up.

It means by the time David Cameron addresses the EU Council tonight during the leaders' working dinner - they will all, said Downing Street, "know the issues the Prime Minister wants to address".

However, with the EU facing both the Greek and the migrant crisis, Number 10 has been forced to concede that they "recognise" that the "UK renegotiation sits alongside that".

It suggests that many of the 27 leaders outside the UK do not consider the UK's referendum and renegotiation process a priority.

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Poll: Should Britain stay in the EU or leave?

Do you think Britain is better off in or out of the EU? Credit: Johnny Green / PA Archive

Alan Johnson, leader of the Labour Group's Yes campaign, says leaving the EU could put jobs as well as our rights at risk, while eurosceptic Tory MP John Redwood says far from losing friends, Britain will gain in stature as an independent country.

But who do you agree with? Should we stay or should we go?

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Government backs down over EU referendum date

The government has agreed not to hold the EU referendum with other elections after pressure from backbenchers and the SNP.

Ballot box. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The EU referendum, which will be held no later than 2017, will not happen on the same day as as elections in Scotland and Mayoral elections in London next May.

A senior government source said: "We've listened to the views expressed from MPs across the House and agreed that we won't hold the referendum on the same day as legislature elections."

IMF dramatically walks out of Greek debt talks

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels Credit: Reuters

The IMF has raised the stakes on Greece in ongoing debt talks by dramatically leaving negotiations in Brussels over what its representatives described as "major differences" between the two sides.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters that it was "unacceptable" for the Greek government to have rejected its proposals.

However, European and Greek politicians have attempted to play down this development, insisting that talks would continue in an effort to reach a deal by 18 June.

"Where there's a will there's a way but the will has to come from all sides so it's important that we keep speaking with each other," German Chancellor Andrea Merkel told a conference in Berlin.

A Greek government official, meanwhile, dismissed the IMF's move, claiming it is "nothing more than pressure" on the country and its creditors, and that Athens would not cross any of its "red lines".

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