Prime Minister David Cameron took his case for an overhaul of the terms of Britain’s membership of the European Union to Brussels Tuesday as the French government digs in its heels over aspects of his reform agenda.
Cameron met with senior European Parliament members including the body’s president, Martin Schulz, and the heads of the two biggest caucuses in an effort to win them over before a summit of EU leaders starting Thursday. Schulz said the legislature, which would need to pass certain provisions after a deal, would act “as fast as possible” to find solutions to the issues raised by the U.K.
Cameron headed to the EU’s political and administrative nexus as the debate over Britain’s future membership in the 28-nation bloc enters a crucial phase that will determine whether the U.K. government calls an in-out referendum as soon as June. He’s still got work to do: the prime minister failed to win over President Francois Hollande late Monday, according to a French official, who said their meeting in Paris was constructive but that differences remain.
Convincing France of the case to award Britain further exemptions from euro-area integration for its financial industry has emerged as one of the key obstacles to a deal this week. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Tuesday that the euro zone must be free to integrate further regardless of the U.K.’s negotiations.