David Cameron warned by foreign leaders that he is in for a tough ride at today's EU summit

Today's meeting kicks off negotiations

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David Cameron has been warned by foreign leaders that he is in for a tough ride at today’s EU summit where he will try to renegotiate the bloc’s migration and welfare rules.

Belgium is the latest country to issue a warning that attempts to ditch a cause in EU treaties calling for ‘ever closer union’ may prove futile.

“Europe is something ... you work on altogether and you try to achieve something altogether,” Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt told the BBC.

“It would certainly be a hard negotiating position to negotiate about because that kind of statement is a very strong statement that would really make the negotiations certainly very difficult.”

The warning comes after Mr Cameron faced a double-blow to renegotiation hopes amid intransigence from France and official snubs from European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

In a statement issued by Downing Street as the talks began, Mr Cameron said he was in uncharted territory with the negotiations.

 

“It's the first EU summit where renegotiation of the UK's relationship with the EU is formally on the agenda,” he said.

“It will take us another step closer to addressing the concerns that the British people have about the EU. And closer to changing the status quo for the better and then giving the British people a say on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU.”

The PM wants to exempt the UK from the ‘ever closer union clause’, safeguard the rights of states that are not in the euro, and curb the rights of EU migrants to claim benefits.

Additional reporting by agencies

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