Resistance to David Cameron’s proposed four-year freeze on in-work benefits for non-British EU citizens is now total across the other 27 countries.
A view has crystallised in Brussels that the British prime minister will need to climb down on the welfare issue if he wants a deal by February.
While Cameron is in a hurry to finalise an agreement to be put to a referendum – other key governments including Germany do not want to be rushed.
Cameron – according to a senior source in Brussels ‘has to adapt his position to reality’ on the welfare row.
‘All the legal experts say this is not feasible’ the source said.
‘Everyone we consult tells us the same thing. This is the most critical point. There will be no deal next week’.
Donald Tusk – the president of the European council – who will chair next week’s EU summit and is in charge of the British negotiations – told MEPs on Wednesday that all the other 27 EU member states were against granting the British the right to curb in-work benefits for EU migrants only.