PM's statement at press conference in Copenhagen: 5 February 2016
The Prime Minister made a statement today following talks with Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen in Copenhagen.
Thank you very much Lars, it’s very good to be here in Copenhagen today with you. We have a very good relationship, a very good friendship.
Our discussions have focussed on 3 issues: on our bilateral relations, on EU reform, and on the migration crisis.
And I just want to say a few words on each.
Our bilateral relationship is particularly close. We are firm NATO allies – indeed HMS Ramsey is taking part in a NATO exercise here right now.
We also co-operate closely on counter-terrorism and in the fight against Daesh.
And I saw for myself the bravery of Danish soldiers as our 2 countries served alongside each other in very close quarters in Afghanistan.
Trade in both directions between our 2 countries is worth £6 billion a year. And over 600,000 Brits visit Denmark annually.
We work very closely together in the EU. And again, as you’ve just heard with a similar outlook. We share a lot in common. Proud nations. But outward-looking.
On EU reform, as you know, I’m working hard to secure reform in 4 areas – economic governance, sovereignty, competitiveness and welfare.
And on welfare, let me explain why the British people have concerns and what I’m trying to fix.
I support the principle of free movement and I greatly value the contribution that many make when they come to Britain.
But the challenge we’ve identified is the scale of movement we’ve seen from across Europe to Britain over the last decade and the pressure that has put on public services.
Now these are problems that we can share.
For example, I know as we’ve just heard that in Denmark you have concerns about paying child benefit for children not living here.
And that’s why the reforms I’m seeking can benefit other countries too.
I’ve now secured a commitment from the commission to address this.
So the text the Council has put forward shows real progress in all 4 areas, including on protecting the legitimate interests of non-euro member states, which of course is so important to Denmark too.
Now as Lars has just said, this deal must be legally binding. The Danish model – negotiated in 1992 – has set a powerful precedent for that. As the Prime Minister has just said, over 20 years later, it still stands.
But as I’ve said, there is still important detail to be nailed down if we’re to get a deal in February.
And that’s why the hard work continues.
We’ve also discussed the Syria donors conference that I hosted yesterday with others in London.
And I want to thank your Prime Minister and the Danish people for the very generous pledge that you made.
I’m proud to say we brought together world leaders, we raised records funds and identified crucial long-term assistance through the creation of jobs and crucially the provision of school places for refugee children.
This will give those in desperate need real hope for the future. But this should only be the beginning.
The more we do to create the opportunity for people to stay in the region, the less likely we are to see them making the treacherous journey to Europe. A journey that has sadly resulted in so many deaths.
So we’ve had good discussions here today and I want to thank you Lars again for giving me such a warm welcome.