‘No winners’ from EU agreement to avoid Brexit – Lithuanian politicians

Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius of the Liberal Movement said that neither Great Britain nor the European Union were winners in the negotiations.

“So far, my impression is that no victory was achieved by Great Britain or the European Union. Why didn’t Britain and Cameron win? The agreements are rather far from the ones Britain’s Conservatives demanded in early 2015, and we see their initial reaction – London Mayor Boris Johnson stated he would speak in support of withdrawal, which indicates a certain split in the ranks of the Conservative Party,” Auštrevičius told BNS Lithuania.

He also said the agreement represented a negative step for the EU as well, at a time when the community currently needs a higher degree of unity in addressing internal problems, the British agreement will cause other countries to seek exceptions.

“I see a certain tendency [to seek exceptions] that may continue,” the MEP added.

However, Social Democratic MP Gediminas Kirkilas, the chairman of the parliamentary European Affairs Committee, said the decision was positive and demonstrated the EU’s ability to come to an agreement, but he questioned its ability to help Cameron’s campaign to stay in the EU.

“The question is how will this help the referendum? As we see there is no unity in the Conservative Party. I had a meeting with Britain’s Minister for Europe David Lidington and asked openly – if the agreements are reached, will they be of major help for the referendum, and he was not able to give an answer.

However, he said that it did give those in favour of staying in the EU in Britain some support. “These are still certain arguments Cameron and his supporters will rely on in the referendum. In general, it is a positive agreement, demonstrating the EU’s ability to agree,” Kirkilas told BNS.

If British voters decide to leave the EU during the referendum on June 23, it would be bad news for Lithuania and the community, the politicians said.

Kirkilas said Britain’s withdrawal would bring political and financial consequences for the EU.

On Sunday, Cameron launched the Yes campaign in hopes of persuading his population into supporting his call for the United Kingdom to stay in a “reformed” European Union.

One of the key concessions Britain secured was an “emergency brake” to allow it to limit benefits for immigrants from other EU nations if the country was hit by a large wave of incoming workers.

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