British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Monday to increase cooperation to reach an agreement for a reformed tie between the UK and the European Union, Cameron’s spokesman said.
Cameron has stated that he anticipates to reach a deal with EU leaders over his plans to review the UK's relationship with the EU at a February 18-19 summit. This could make way for UK’s referendum on EU exit as early as June.
"They agreed that there had been progress since December's European Council and that there was genuine goodwill across the EU to address the British people's concerns in all four areas," Cameron’s spokesman said after a phone call between both leaders on Monday.
"Both concluded that there was more work to do ahead of the February European Council to find the right solutions."
During his press conference with the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Cameron mentioned this issue and said, “It is possible for it [an agreement] to happen in February. As I have said, if there is a good deal on the table I will take that deal. I’ll take it to the British people and explain why it is the best of both worlds. But it has got to be the right deal."
“If it is not there, we have got plenty of time. We don’t need a referendum until the end of 2017 … If all those [sensible and concrete proposals] get a proper and sensible response we can do this in February. But if it is not right – I would rather get it right than do it in a rush,” Cameron added.
In 2013, Cameron had promised a referendum on the EU membership by the end of 2017, due to the pressure from lawmakers who feared that the anti-EU UK Independence Party might win the elections.
He demanded his EU counterparts let Britain cut in-work benefits for employees coming in from other EU member states and prevent London from implementing certain eurozone rules believed to harm British interests.
Earlier this month, Cameron gave into his ministers and will allow them to campaign both for or against European Union exit in the forthcoming referendum.
According to the latest poll from ICM conducted between 15-17 January, 42 percent of British citizens wanted to stay as a member of EU and that 40 percent were against EU membership. It also found that 17 percent were undecided.
Another research was held by Survation, carried out between 15–16 January, found 42 percent voted for leaving while 38 percent favoured staying and 20 percent were undecided.