British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond (C) arrives to take part in a EU foreign ministers meeting in Amsterdam, on February 6, 2016. / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND
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The European Union will "lurch very much in the wrong direction" if Britain votes to leave in an in/out referendum, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond warned Sunday.British Prime Minister David Cameron is trying to force changes in four main areas, the most contentious being limiting access to welfare benefits for EU migrants for their first four years in the country.Cameron promised an in/out referendum by the end of 2017, but is likely to bring it forward if a deal is reached this week, with a date in June earmarked.Hammond said that Britain would not necessarily push for a treaty change to lock in the reforms, saying it wasn't essential to give them binding force, and that it would push back the proposed referendum date if it wasn't happy with this week's proposals.But if Britain did eventually vote to leave, it could spell crisis for remaining members of the EU, and lead to bitter break-up negotiations, he said.
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