UK finance minister hopeful on Feb deal with EU

DAVOS: Top executives and world leaders are meeting this week from the final day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

George Osborne, Britain's economic and finance minister, thinks a deal between his government and the European Union on a series of reforms to Britain's membership of the 28-country bloc is possible in February.

The British government is looking to eke out four reforms to the country's membership from EU partners that will then be put to the British people in a referendum.

A deal in February would pave the way for a vote on British membership of the EU to take place in June.

If one isn't forged in time, Prime Minister David Cameron says he can hang on until the end of 2017. However that would only add to uncertainty and could weigh on British economic activity.

Osborne told a panel at the World Economic Forum that he's "optimistic" about getting a good deal and that the people will then vote to stay in.

A potential British exit from the EU has been one of the main talking points at Davos this year.