EU referendum: Six things to know about Donald Tusk's letter to UK

President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk
President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk

PRESIDENT of the EU Council Donald Tusk has written to David Cameron with his proposal of how Britain might slot into the EU in future.

1) Keep the EU intact

Donald Tusk thinks he's come up with a great solution to David Cameron's wish to renegotiate Britain's membership of the EU. He said he won't cross the line on the founding principles of the 'European project' but he believes what he's prepared to offer Britain should make Mr Cameron relatively happy. His main objective is to keep the EU intact, with no breakaways, but he is clear that Britain must remember that their views must be supported by the 27 other member states. Some critics will see the offer as a significant watering down of the PM's plans.

2) Compromise

He said he's convinced the proposal is a good basis for compromise. He said: "This has been a difficult process and there are still challenging negotiations ahead. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

3) The economy

Mr Cameron asked for recognition from the EU that the Euro is not the only currency, and that further financial union cannot be imposed on non-eurozone members, and the UK does not have to contribute to eurozone bailouts. Mr Tusk said he agrees that the pound should be recognised as a currency of the EU and support for non-euro area member states, but he won't allow this handful of countries to veto or delay urgent decisions. Mr Cameron said he's pleased because for the first time it will be put into law that Britain doesn't have to bailout countries like Greece, when their economies are faltering.

4) Sovereignty

Mr Tusk said the UK does not have to be committed to further political integration. A 'red card' system will allow the House of Commons to band together with like-minded EU parliaments and block unwanted Brussels legislation. David Cameron has closer integration 'is not the path we are pursuing'. In a speech this lunchtime, he said: "We are there for trade, cooperation...but we not part of an ever closer union." Mr Cameron said he thinks this area of negotiation has been 'pretty strong'.

5) Free movement and immigration

David Cameron thinks that the UK's welfare system has been a 'draw' to migrants. He said Donald Tusk's letter ends a 'something for nothing' culture and is delighted he has got his emergency brake that will limit migrants' access to benefits for four years. However Mr Tusk however is relatively vague on this issue and said that there is much more to discuss.

Migrants will still be able to send benefits to their children abroad, but it will be paid at the local rate of the country it's being sent to, and Mr Tusk's draft proposal also sets out new rules to stop people coming to the UK via "sham marriages".

6) What's next...

We've been told this lunchtime negotiations are 'live' and in a crucial stage and this Friday, Mr Tusk's staff and Europe's Permanent Representatives from member states will discuss the proposal together for the first time. He said the clear objective is to have an agreement of all 28 at the February European Council.

And he returns to compromise one last time, signing off his letter: "To succeed we will all need to compromise. To fail would be compromising our common future."

Mr Cameron said he believes he's achieved a good deal for Britain.