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Cameron travels to Paris amid push for Britain's EU reform demands

British Prime Minister Cameron and French President Hollande are due to discuss an EU reform proposal. The deal would give the UK further independence from the EU.

French President Francois Hollande is due to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron later on Monday in a bid to gain greater French support for a package of EU reforms that would help keep the UK in the bloc.

Cameron has been travelling to various European cities to drum up support for the package of EU reforms addressing diverse policy issues such as immigration, welfare benefits for EU citizens residing in the UK and overall sovereignty from Brussels. The package will be discussed in Brussels later this week.

In London, Cameron's spokeswoman said that there had been progress made while there were still some "details to be pinned down."

"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed," she said.

Cameron hopes to use the deal as the basis of a public referendum on whether to remain in the EU. The plebiscite could come as early as June. However, he implied last week that he could campaign against Britain remaining in the bloc if the reforms fell through, while at the same time remaining

hopeful that an agreement could be reached

.

Opposition by France and other EU members

British and EU negotiators have already agreed on much of the reform package, but certain political issues remain unresolved, with some EU states possibly using the "Brexit" debate to push for concessions in their own right.

Facing criticism from the rest of the EU for its handling of the ongoing migration crisis, debt-ridden Greece could attempt to extract concessions for agreeing to a British deal. Italy could also raise demands for leeway on eurzone budgetary rules, as the Mediterranean nation aims to take a more prominent role at the EU's top table alongside France and Germany.

France meanwhile has also been an

outspoken critic

of the threat of a so-called "Brexit." Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the EU did not need an additional crisis brought on by Britain's outlook on the bloc, adding that Britain could not "dictate its conditions" to the EU. In particular, France has expressed doubts about the wording of the proposal to give London a voice in decisions on the euro even though Britain does not use the EU common currency.

Despite the negative outlook, European Council leader Donald Tusk announced at a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris earlier on Monday that he hoped the UK and other EU nations would manage to agree on a deal to keep Britain in the European Union.

ss/kms (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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