david cameron.jpg
Photograph: EPA/ANDY RAIN

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised voters that he will renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership before the country holds an in-out referendum by the end of 2017.

Cameron in November set out four areas of reform he wants to negotiate, which are detailed below. He wants a "legally binding and irreversible" agreement on the reforms, if needed by changing EU treaties.

If this is achieved, he has pledged to campaign "with all my heart and soul" to keep Britain in the European Union.

SOVEREIGNTY: Cameron wants an exemption for Britain from the EU's treaty-enshrined ambition of "ever closer union."

He also would like to boost the role of national parliaments, for instance by giving them the power to act in groups to stop unwanted legislation.

The EU should only take action where necessary, in line with the principle of subsidiary, while national security must remain "the sole responsibility of member states," Cameron has written.

IMMIGRATION: This area of reform is proving the most controversial, notably a proposal by Cameron that EU citizens coming to Britain should not qualify for in-work benefits or social housing until they have lived in the country and paid contributions for four years.

London argues that its public services are overwhelmed by a high number of immigrants and that it thus needs to limit the arrivals of nationals from other EU countries.

London would also like to end the practice of sending child benefits overseas, use tougher entry bans and deportation measures against fraudsters and criminals, and institute free-movement limits on nationals from countries that will join the EU in the future.

COMPETITIVENESS: Cameron argues that the EU can "go much further" on boosting its competitiveness, notably through deregulation, measures to strengthen its single market and expanded global trade links.

Britain would like to see an EU target for reducing the burden of regulation on businesses and stepped-up efforts to ensure the free flow of capital, goods and services in the bloc.

Boosting the competitiveness and productivity of the EU will help drive growth and jobs, Cameron has argued.

ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE: London wants to protect the European single market, including by guaranteeing fairness for the 19 eurozone and nine non-eurozone EU nations. Britain is not part of the single currency area and does not intend to join it.

Cameron says he is not interested in having a veto power over eurozone decisions. But he wants taxpayers in non-euro countries to not be financially liable for eurozone-support operations; eurozone decisions to never be compulsory for non-euro nations; and businesses that use currencies other than the euro not to face disadvantages.

National institutions should be responsible for financial stability and supervision in non-eurozone members and EU countries should have a say on measures that affect them all, he has argued.

Related stories

The cornerstones of Britain's EU reform deal

EU heads into difficult 2016 amid Brexit fears

Cameron makes final appeals to voters to remain in EU

Latest news

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.

Hamas rejects Netanyahu's proposal for international forces in Gaza

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to send international forces to the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Deloitte: Growing optimism among CFOs

Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Croatia are more optimistic about growth and financial prospects in 2017 than they were last year, with most of them expecting increases in their company's revenue, a survey shows.

Russian agents main suspects for attempted coup in Montenegro

Russian citizens Eduard Shumakov and Vladimir Popoc, suspected of organising terrorist activities in Montenegro and forming a criminal organisation, are agents of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), British, U.S. and other intelligence agencies confirmed, the Podgorica-based media reported on Sunday.

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.