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On 19 February 2016, after months of negotiations, David Cameron reached agreement with his EU counterparts on a legally binding Decision to address the UK’s concerns about its future EU membership. The full set of texts adopted as part of the New Settlement for the United Kingdom within the European Union are set out in the European Council Conclusions:

  1. Decision of the Heads of State or Government, meeting within the European Council, concerning a new settlement for the United Kingdom within the European Union; 
  2. Statement containing a draft Council Decision on specific provisions relating to the effective management of the banking union and of the consequences of further integration of the euro area which will be adopted on the day the Decision referred to in point (a) takes effect; 
  3. Declaration of the European Council on competitiveness; 
  4. Declaration of the Commission on a subsidiarity implementation mechanism and a burden reduction implementation mechanism; 
  5. Declaration of the European Commission on the indexation of child benefits exported to a Member State other than that where the worker resides;
  6. Declaration of the Commission on the safeguard mechanism referred to in paragraph 2(b) of Section D of the Decision of the Heads of State or Government;
  7. Declaration of the Commission on issues related to the abuse of the right of free movement of persons.

This Settlement will be the basis for the UK referendum on EU membership on 23 June 2016. To summarise, the package allows the UK to apply an emergency brake on EU citizens using free movement laws to come to the UK; restricts access to in-work benefits for up to seven years; links payment of child benefit for children not resident in the UK to the economy of their resident State; ensures equal treatment for Eurozone and non-Eurozone States in measures providing for more Eurozone integration; applies a single rulebook to all credit institutions and other financial institutions to ensure a level-playing field in the internal market; recognises that the UK is not committed to further EU political integration (“ever closer union”); promises to reduce the burden on business and provides a mechanism for national parliaments to object to Commission proposals (“red card”).

The European Council also discussed measures to tackle the migration crisis, Syria and Libya.

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