The “emergency brake” is only symbolic, but it will probably work


IT TELLS you a lot about David Cameron’s dinner in London last night with Donald Tusk that the press could not subsequently decide whether it was a coup or a disaster for the prime minister and his plan to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership. On the one hand the European Council president bluntly commented “no deal” as he swept out. His team confirmed that it would not be circulating a proposal today—and possibly not tomorrow either, if remaining differences cannot be ironed out. On the other hand Downing Street was upbeat, describing as a “significant breakthrough” the news that “the Commission have tabled a text making clear that the UK’s current circumstances meet the criteria for triggering the emergency brake” (a four-year benefits freeze for incomers).

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