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EU suggests June summit delay over Brexit vote clash

President of the European Council Donald Tusk gives a press conference with Croatian Prime Minister after their meeting in Zagreb, on March 2, 2016. In a bid to ease the divisions, EU President Donald Tusk is currently touring the Balkan states and Turkey, the main departure point for refugees. Ahead of a crucial EU-Turkey summit on March 7, Tusk said he will press for "a more intensive engagement" from Ankara on a deal signed with the EU in November to limit the flow of refugees. / AFP / STR

President of the European Council Donald Tusk gives a press conference with Croatian Prime Minister after their meeting in Zagreb, on March 2, 2016.<br />In a bid to ease the divisions, EU President Donald Tusk is currently touring the Balkan states and Turkey, the main departure point for refugees. Ahead of a crucial EU-Turkey summit on March 7, Tusk said he will press for “a more intensive engagement” from Ankara on a deal signed with the EU in November to limit the flow of refugees. / AFP / STR

European Union president Donald Tusk has suggested that EU leaders delay a June summit by a few days to avoid a clash with Britain’s referendum on bloc membership, an EU source told AFP Thursday.

“Tusk has suggested to member states that the June European Council be postponed till 28-29 June to avoid overlap with the UK in-out referendum,” the source said.

“Still no final confirmation of the date,” added the source, who asked not to be named.

The 28 EU leaders are due to meet for a regular summit in Brussels on June 23-24.

Britons are set to vote on June 23 in the referendum which Prime Minister David Cameron promised ahead of last year’s general election.

Cameron fixed the date after securing from his EU peers what he argues are key changes to Britain’s membership terms, including taking back powers over social welfare and immigration from Brussels.

The 28 EU leaders meet regularly for two-day summits throughout the year to review outstanding issues and set broad policy outlines for the bloc.

The Brexit issue and Cameron’s reform demands dominated their February 18-19 summit.

Opinion polls have been mixed overall but a survey in The Observer newspaper at the weekend put support for Britain to leave the EU at 43 percent, against 39 percent wanting to stay.



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