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When Russians switched on their television sets on Saturday evening they saw something strange.

Britain's demands at last week's European Union summit represented a "risk to the integrity of the internal market" which was impossible for other member states to accept, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said today.

In comments which appeared to show exasperation with David Cameron's negotiating tactics, Mr Barroso told MEPs that talks dragged on into the early hours not because of any dispute over the content of the new "fiscal compact" for the eurozone but because Britain would not accept amendments to the Lisbon Treaty.