The Prime Minister is in Brussels today, trying to drum up support for stricter immigration controls on new countries joining the European Union. How much traction this gains will tell us a great deal about how successful his overall renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU might be.

David Cameron’s supporters argue that the tide of ideas is clearly turning in his direction in Europe, and that he has clocked up a number of achievements already in persuading other leaders to think what he’s thinking, especially that cut he managed to achieve in the EU Budget. They also hope that the work MPs from the Fresh Start Project have been doing in parliaments across the EU to make the case for reform will pay off as politicians in other countries press their leaders for reform too.

But others point out that freedom of movement is such a basic part of the EU that any meaningful reform will be very difficult to pull off indeed. It’s just that it’s one of the issues that tends to epitomise voters’ hostility to the EU, and therefore the PM can’t avoid it just because it is difficult.

Tags: David Cameron, European Union, Immigration, UK politics