European Council President Donald Tusk presented on Tuesday proposals for keeping Britain in the European Union to a mixed response, underlining the challenges Prime Minister David Cameron faces to win over his people and other EU leaders before a summit on February 18th. David Pollard reports.
BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS ***Broadcasters: No access UK, No access Ireland. No access BBC, No access BSKYB, No access FREEVIEW, No access VIRGIN. Digital: No access UK, No access Ireland. No access BBC, No access BSKYB, No access FREEVIEW, No access VIRGIN. Mobile: No access worldwide NO USE AFTER 30 DAYS ON ALL PLATFORMS - for re-use contact sales[at]itnsource.com.*** Britain's place in Europe: perhaps not as sure as it once was ... Unless Donald Tusk can sell this letter to EU member states. The European Council president has presented his proposals for keeping Britain in the EU - to a mixed response. But they do touch on issues demanded by the UK prime minister. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "I wanted a red card system for national parliaments to block legislation, people said you wouldn't get that, it's there in the document. People said we wouldn't get the idea of people having to wait four years before getting in-work benefits in Britain, it's there in the document. People said you will never really managed to sort of get Britain out of the concept of a closer union. Again, pretty clearly set out in the document." David Cameron faces a hard sell - back home. Eurosceptic groups in the UK denounce his demands as "trivial". Even a key supporter, London mayor, Boris Johnson - one day tipped to succeed him - has reservations. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAYOR OF LONDON, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "I don't myself think that the red card system offers anything like enough. And I do have my doubts about that." And investors have their concerns too. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FXPRO, HEAD OF RESEARCH, SIMON SMITH, SAYING: "There will be businesses and investors and investments that will hold back ... unless the polls suddenly give a strong indication one way of the other. But polls generally in this country in the last couple of years - general election, Scotland, have not been that reliable, so investors are even more wary." Tusk's letter is the result of days of intensive talks. Britain insisting on a new deal with Europe before it puts the issue to an IN/OUT referendum many expect in June. The stakes: about as high as they could be - potentially shaping Britain's role in the world. And posing deep questions for a European Union already beset by crisis.