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Britain Reaches Deal to Stay in European Union
Date: 2/20/2016 11:54:06 AM Sender: VOA
British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, speaks with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, left, during a meeting on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels, Feb. 19, 2016.

British Prime Minister David Cameron reached a deal with all 27 fellow European Union leaders late Friday to keep Britain in the EU with "special status."

Cameron said he would present the deal to his Cabinet on Saturday, the first step in what will be a long, tough campaign to convince British voters that the country should remain in the bloc.

The question will be put to a referendum in June, and at this point, voters appear to be evenly split.

The deal was struck during a two-day EU summit in Brussels, which ended when the EU members agreed on a package of concessions to Cameron. They include giving Britain the right to restrict benefits and welfare payments to workers from other EU nations who come to Britain for jobs; and guarantees that Britain will not be penalized for continuing to use the pound currency instead of switching to the euro.

Britain will also not be obligated to form a so-called closer union with the rest of the EU.

Some EU leaders initially objected to giving Britain the right cut back on welfare payments to foreign workers, but no one wants to see Britain, with its powerful economy and military, leave the EU.

Many British politicians, especially the Conservatives, want to pull Britain out of the EU, mainly for economic reasons. But they also say EU laws on such sensitive issues as immigration and criminal punishment trump British law.

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