Lithuanian president on Britain’s demands: Free movement is core value of EU

David Cameron, Dalia Grybauskaitė
DELFI/Scanpix

Grybauskaitė spoke to journalists in the Latvian capital which is hosting the EU Eastern Partnership summit. Britain’s PM David Cameron has pledged to take advantage of the Riga meeting to open discussions on the conditions of his country’s EU membership.

“The questions that are discussed today in Britain are sensitive for everybody, but freedom of movement is the core value of the European Union,” Grybauskaitė told Riga journalists.

Asked about the chances for Britain to agree with the rest of the EU, the Lithuanian president said that all parties should seek consensus, not exceptions at others’ expense.

“Free movement of labour has been the fundamental values of the EU. (…) Efforts to achieve compromise can be made, however, not at the expense of core values,” said Grybauskaitė.

Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on the country’s EU membership. He has said he would only support the membership if he secures support for reforms, such as restrictions for immigrants from other EU countries to claim social benefits.

Cameron’s trip to Latvia is his first foreign visit after Britain’s conservatives unexpectedly secured absolute majority in parliamentary elections.

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