“We have effectively agreed on many things – three out of four points have been almost agreed on. We believe that a compromise is possible [on benefits], but it should not apply to those who already live [in the UK], only to future arrivals,” President Grybauskaitė told LRT radio.
One of the British government’s demands concerns limiting in-work and out-of-work benefits for EU migrants during the first four years in the UK. Eastern European countries, including Lithuania, have insisted that the measure must not affect EU nationals who already live in the UK.
Other demands presented by British Prime Minister David Cameron include assurances that Britain can opt out of further political integration with the EU; improving competitiveness and cutting regulation from Brussels; and explicit assurance of non-discrimination against EU states outside the eurozone.
President Grybauskaitė says many EU countries agree with the reform demands. “I believe an agreement is possible, because many other reforms are beneficial for everyone, the United Kingdom and Europe alike. It is important for us that the UK stay in the EU and that the British people, after getting additional information, make a positive decision,” she said.
Final agreement between the UK and the EU is expected on Friday.