David Cameron says ‘some progress’ as talks resume

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UK Prime Minister David Cameron has resumed talks at the EU summit saying there had been “some progress” overnight but “there’s still no deal”.

Mr Cameron was negotiating until 05:30 GMT and is now holding one-to-one meetings with EU leaders.

He aims to get a deal by the end of the two day summit later on Friday so that he can push ahead with plans for a referendum in June.

But significant sticking points remain on benefit curbs and EU regulations.

European Council President Donald Tusk said there had been “some progress” but “a lot still remains to be done”.

The aim is to try and reach a deal at an “English lunch” from 14:30 GMT – two hours later than planned.

But there is speculation that talks could continue over the weekend.

Mr Cameron’s plan had been to get a deal on Friday morning and then head back to London for an emergency cabinet meeting at which he would commit the government to campaign for Britain to stay in a reformed EU. That would trigger the start of the referendum campaign and allow ministers who want Britain to leave the EU to speak out.

But Downing Street sources have told the BBC it was increasingly unlikely a cabinet meeting would now be held on Friday.

They said it was still possible a deal could be done but they “genuinely don’t know” whether it will happen.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reported by the Reuters news agency as saying it had become “clear that agreement will not be easy for many, but that the will is there”.

Arriving at the summit venue on Friday morning, French President Francois Hollande made it clear that France continues to resist a deal on financial regulation aimed at protecting the City of London from new regulations imposed by the eurozone countries.

“Since last night, there are proposals that have been changed, notably on what concerns France – the wish to have a financial regulation system which is valid in all parts of Europe, and that there should be no right of veto or prevention.”

The first EU Council session ended on Thursday with no agreement on several issues, and an EU source said that while it had been “intense and constructive” with all the countries confirming their wish for the UK to stay in the bloc, some also set out specific concerns.

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