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EU expects Britain to come up with reform plans fast

By AP - Oct 14,2015 - Last updated at Oct 14,2015

In this June 25 file photo, British Prime Minister David Cameron (right) speaks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels (AP photo)

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders say they are increasingly frustrated that British Prime Minister David Cameron has not made concrete proposals on reform of the bloc despite all Britain's talk of possibly leaving unless there is fundamental change.

On the eve of a summit of EU leaders where the issue is expected to be only lightly touched upon, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the EU Parliament Wednesday that "I can't say that huge progress has been achieved."

Juncker insisted he wants Britain to remain in the EU but added that "to tango, it takes two. So we have to dance, and our British friends have to dance."

Cameron set out in May to change the way the EU is run and wants to cut the EU's political powers over member states. He plans to hold a national vote before the end of 2017 on whether Britain should leave the EU — a possibility that has come to be known as a Brexit.

Ahead of Thursday's summit, Cameron and Juncker will have lunch together as part of a grand tour by the British leader to European capitals to feel out what reforms could be put on the table.

The EU institutions and several member states want to forge ahead and are eagerly awaiting for Britain comes up with its demands, so it is clear to everyone where any reform should be, said one diplomat from an EU nation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because talks were set for Thursday.

Britain wants to touch on fundamental social and financial legislation and agreements between member states and make sure nations regain more autonomous decision-making at the expense of EU institutions.

 

After the summit, Cameron is expected to continue bilateral meetings with fellow leaders to have a firm discussion on the future of the bloc at the December EU summit.

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