Some of David Cameron's demands to reform the European Union are "highly problematic," the European Commission has said, minutes after the Prime Minister published the letter setting out his demands for change.
In an immediate response to the letter, sent by Mr Cameron to European Council president Donald Tusk, the EU Commission said some of his proposals to reform Britain's relationship with the 28-state bloc were feasible.
But others ranged from "difficult to worse," EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.
The most contentious of Mr Cameron's four main proposals was his attempt to make EU migrants wait for four years before they can access in-work benefits such as child and working tax credits or access to social housing.
Mr Schinas said this directly threatened the key EU tenet of freedom of movement.
"Some things which are highly problematic as they touch upon the fundamental freedoms of our internal market; direct discrimination between EU citizens clearly falls into this last category," he said.
Earlier in the morning Mr Cameron said he was "open" to considering different ways of achieving his core goal of limiting the pull factors for EU migrants.
Signalling that he could be open to making concessions on the most contentious of his four demands in his attempt to renegotiate Britain's membership of the EU, the Prime Minister said he understood barring EU migrants from claiming in-work benefits for four years would be "difficult" for some member states to accept.
Eurosceptic Tory MPs
Eurosceptic Tory MPs
1/7 Owen Paterson
Formerly a cabinet minister, Owen Paterson is now free to make his opinion known on the backbenchers. On the subject of Europe, he does so regularly – claiming recently that the EU referendum was “rigged” in favour of staying in
2/7 John Redwood
A longstanding eurosceptic, Mr Redwood warned last year that businesses that spoke out in favour of EU membership would be punished at the check-outs by anti-EU
3/7 Bill Cash
Awkward squad rebel Bill Cash said last year that he thought the EU had become an undemocratic, German-dominated project. “An increasingly assertive German Europe is at odds with British national interests,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph
4/7 Philip Davies
From the Conservative party’s hard right wing, Philip Davies has been a longstanding critic of the EU. He founded the Better off Out campaign and is so eurosceptic that Ukip decided not to stand a candidate against him in 2010 because they agreed with him
5/7 Nadine Dorries
Outspoken Tory MP Nadine Dorries has previously advocated an alliance with Ukip. At the height of the Greek crisis in 2013 she said that the EU was “dying on its feet”
6/7 Liam Fox
The former defence secretary is a central figure on the right wing of the Conservative party. He’s long put pressure on David Cameron over EU negotiations
7/7 Zac Goldsmith
A socially liberal eurosceptic, Goldsmith was one of the founding members of the People’s Pledge campaign to get MPs to sign up for an EU referendum. His father ran the Referendum Party, a precursor to Ukip
In a speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in central London, he said: "We have proposed that people coming to Britain from the EU must live here and contribute for four years before they qualify for in-work benefits or social housing, and that we should end the practice of sending child benefit overseas.
"Now, I understand how difficult some of these welfare issues are for other member states, and I am open to different ways of dealing with this issue.
"But we do need to secure arrangements that deliver on the objective set out in the Conservative Party manifesto to control migration from the European Union."
In the letter sent to Mr Tusk, Mr Cameron wrote: "I look forward to discussing these proposals further so we can find a solution that deals with this issue."Reuse content