Some British demands 'highly problematic': European Commission

Brussels - British Prime Minister David Cameron's EU renegotiation demands on curbs for migrant benefits are "highly problematic", the European Commission said Tuesday after Cameron sent his objectives to Brussels.

"We see a number of elements that seem to be feasible like finding ways to increase the role of national parliaments, some issues which are difficult like the relation between euro ins and outs," Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.

"And some things which are highly problematic as they touch upon fundamental freedoms of our internal market. Direct discrimination between EU citizens clearly falls in this category," he added.

"The European Commission considers the letter as the beginning not the end of the negotiations. We stand ready to work for a fair deal with Britain that is also fair for all the other member states." Cameron sent a letter to EU President Donald Tusk on Tuesday setting out his demands for guarantees for non-eurozone countries, greater competitiveness, an exclusion for Britain from "ever closer union" and curbs on some benefits for EU migrants.

Cameron also spoke to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker by telephone on Tuesday, Schinas said.

Tusk said he would start talks with other EU nations next week.

"With David Cameron's letter, negotiations on #UKinEU can now begin," Tusk tweeted. "Next week, I will launch bilateral consultations with Member States as well as EP (European Parliament) on topics to be addressed."