is to host Donald Tusk for a dinner in Downing Street on Sunday, just days before the European Council president is due to outline plans for EU reforms to satisfy the UK.
Tusk is meant to be publishing “concrete proposals” for within the next couple of weeks, having previously released an update warning that it would be difficult to reach an agreement on Cameron’s proposals for a four-year ban on in-work benefits for EU migrants.
It is one of a string of meetings that Cameron will be having with senior European officials in the coming days, as he makes a last-ditch push for concessions before the crucial February summit in Brussels where he is hoping to complete a deal.
Cameron is also having a hastily-arranged meeting with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Friday, cancelling plans to meet Scandinavian leaders in order to see him. While in Brussels, Cameron is also likely to see , the president of the European parliament.
Just days before the summit on 18 and 19 February, Cameron will fly to Hamburg to see Angela Merkel and deliver a speech on EU reform at the annual St Matthew’s Day banquet.
Downing Street denied that the meetings were a sign of last-minute panic about whether the UK will get concessions on immigration, amid reports a deal is still some way off.
Cameron’s deputy official spokesman said: “I would take all of this as further evidence of the desire to continue , to continue meeting with leaders across the EU to work towards getting the best possible deal for the British people.
“As the prime minister has said on many occasions, we are working towards February, we would like to get a deal in February, but ultimately we want the best possible deal and if we don’t get it in February we will wait until the next time ... The only deadline we are working towards is the end of 2017.”
Cameron has recently begun stressing that he will walk away from the February summit and continue with negotiations, rather than accept an inadequate deal from Brussels.
But Downing Street is still keen for a June or July referendum, after the May elections, which means the deal will need to be concluded within weeks to give enough notice.
Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, has said a referendum before the summer will be difficult if no deal is struck in February and “impossible” if it is not agreed at the following meeting in March.
Cameron has promised that will be held before the end of 2017, after having concluded his attempted renegotiation.