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Cameron tells EU free movement reform ’key’ to post-Brexit ties: UK govt source

Update: June, 29/2016 - 10:58

BRUSSELS - Prime Minister David Cameron told EU leaders yesterday they should consider reforming rules on freedom of movement, a Downing Street source said, after Britain voted to leave the bloc.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said Cameron told a leaders’ dinner in Brussels that Britain and the EU should "have as close an economic relationship as possible and that the key to staying close is really to look at reform to free movement".

A British government source speaking anonymously added that Cameron believes free movement was "one of the driving factors in people voting to leave".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would travel to Brussels today for talks to defend Scotland’s place in the European Union after a vote by Britain as a whole to leave the bloc.

Sturgeon said she was "utterly determined" to protect Scotland as she obtained a formal mandate for direct talks with the European Union institutions at an emergency session of the Scottish parliament.

"Tomorrow I will make an initial visit to Brussels to set out Scotland’s position and interests" to European Parliament leaders, Sturgeon said.

"Through all of this I am determined, utterly determined, to preserve Scotland’s relationship and place within the EU," said Sturgeon, head of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP).

Britain as a whole voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the EU but Scotland voted strongly for Britain to remain -- by 62 per cent to 38 per cent.

However, European Council President Donald Tusk has refused a meeting with the first minister, according to a source in the group of EU leaders.

"Sturgeon requested a meeting with president Tusk, but Tusk thinks it’s not the appropriate moment," the source said.

Scotland is to draw up legislation for a new independence referendum to ensure it could be held during any negotiations for Britain to leave the EU, which would last a maximum of two years unless all EU member states agreed to extend them. — AFP


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