• Germany's news in English
 
Merkel visits Cameron for EU talks
Photo: DPA

Merkel visits Cameron for EU talks

Published: 05 Nov 2012 06:53 GMT+01:00

The two-leg dash will see Merkel, at the helm of Europe's top economy, address the European Parliament against the backdrop of a debate over the current and future shape of the EU as it battles severe financial turbulence.

After reportedly predicting Saturday it would take "five years or more" to overcome the euro crisis, Merkel will lay out to deputies "her thoughts on the further development of the Economic and Monetary Union," her spokesman has said.

She will later travel to London for a working dinner with Cameron amid tension over the EU's long-term budget before a summit this month and a week after he suffered a parliamentary defeat over the issue.

Both stops are expected to provide Merkel an opportunity to highlight her credo – that the EU must work towards more integration especially on member states' budgetary issues as a way out of its crisis.

But Germany's push for ever-greater coordination may well fall on deaf ears during her visit to Britain, which is a member of the EU but is outside the 17-nation eurozone.

"The coalition government is committed to Britain playing a leading role in the EU but I must also be frank: public disillusionment with the EU in our country is the deepest it has ever been," Foreign Secretary William Hague told a foreign policy forum in Berlin last month.

His comments contrasted sharply with remarks by his German counterpart who said Berlin's drive for a fiscal union imposing budgetary discipline – which Britain has declined to join, and EU plans for a banking union were part of a crucial integration process that would benefit all.

The "disillusionment" translated last week into a defeat for Cameron when rebels from his Conservative party defied him by passing a motion urging him to insist on a real-terms cut in the EU's 2014-2020 budget.

Cameron says that a seven-year EU budget freeze in real terms is the best Britain can realistically expect, as most member states support a boost.

Merkel said after talks with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny last week that Germany would do "everything in its power to try to achieve a solution" in the negotiations on the budget.

A summit is due to be held on November 22 and 23 to hash out a deal.

"We are in a phase of intensive discussions, that is one of the reasons why [Merkel] is travelling to London to see Mr Cameron for talks," spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

"Our views on the long-term financial planning and those laid out in recent weeks by the British government aren't that far apart," he said.

Olaf Boehnke, of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Merkel's trip to London "may be interpreted as a wake-up call for the British" over the risks of distancing themselves from the EU.

Britain's relationship with Europe provoked EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Janusz Lewandowski to suggest in Friday's Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that Britain faced a choice.

"Either it [Britain] sees its long-term future in the European Union, or this isn't the case," he said.

And the head of the Greens party in the European Parliament Daniel Cohn-Bendit has even called for a referendum in Britain to decide whether it "becomes the 51st state of the United States" or if it is part of the EU.

In Berlin however the tone remains more conciliatory. Britain is "a member of the European Union that we hold in high regard," Seibert stressed recently, citing its free trade, entrepreneurship and economy.

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:04 November 5, 2012 by sonriete
We can always count on Daniel Cohn-Bendit to make Inflammatory statements that make solutions more difficult to arrive at, as if this weren't painfully difficult to begin with.

No serious person anywhere thinks the UK has any interest or prospect of becoming the 51st US State.

There is a real possibility though of the UK and several other North European States either leaving or declining to join the EU, and it could well be that those states might join NAFTA rather than the EU, along with Canada, the US and Mexico, this organ preserves national sovrienety as well as provides a common market in goods and services.

In this model NAFTA would become a North Atlantic Free Trade Association, rather than a North American Free Trade Association.

Frankly I see it as in the interest of wealthier EU states to negotiate seriously with the British so as to not see this happen, it would certainly not be in the EU's interest and yet it seems the aggressiveness of the pro integration camp tis forcing this to be the most practical solution.
11:30 November 5, 2012 by ChrisRea
Good comment, sonriete! Balanced and carefully written. Let's see what the result of the meeting will be.
12:58 November 5, 2012 by raandy
sonriete very interesting and an excellent point.

If Canada, Australia, New Zeeland, UK, Mexico,US and other Nations established free trade with the eventual intent to provide security cooperation with the view to end NATO ,NAFTA and participation in EU defense initiatives.

I think NAFTA would be more benifical to the UK especially when you consider that the United States is the largest foreign investor in Britain and Britain is the largest foreign investor in the United States, than a regional protectionist trading bloc like the European Union which in many cases does not consider Britain's Banking establishments as part of Europe.

True the US would most likely dominate this as Germany has dominated the EU.

Actually a pointless argument as this is not going to happen. But this is a good issue to ponder.
13:29 November 5, 2012 by sonriete
Randy, I don't see why anyone would want to end NATO and expand NAFTA into the security realm, I think the fact that NAFTA begins and ends with free trade in goods and services is a big part of its allure to those who do not wish to pool sovrienety . It's worked quite well in North America since 1986 as it is hugely increasing trade and prosperity for its members,

All of the likely members of NAFTA on this side of the Atlantic are already members of NATO and seem quite happy with it.
13:55 November 5, 2012 by raandy
sonriete my rant was more to end both NAFTA and NATO, in the future as there are to many apposing view points to the org. and some members do not pull their fair share when it comes to support. I believe the origin of NATO was to counter the Soviet and eastern Bloc nations, many of who now are nato members, the same security concerns have changed.

I support the EU maintaing it's own defense deterrent based on its concerns.True many members are happy with NATO especially those that are under its protection all the while giving very little in man power or financial support., It would seem better if members in the free trading zones many of which are presently NATO members were to provide their own security.

Its only an opinion,times and the world has changed a great deal since the fall of communism along with security needs.

NAFTA would have to change, in the sense that it no longer represents North America only. Like I said it is only an opinion.
14:10 November 5, 2012 by sonriete
The big problem for Europe in ending NATO, as I see it is that Europe spends so little on defense and the Americans so much.

The Americans spent $711 Billion on defense last year, according to EU Observer, much of it to defend Europe, where would the money come from to replace this, especially since almost all European countries are running big deficits while at the same time shrinking their defense budgets?
14:29 November 5, 2012 by raandy
sonriete

Thats my point, America can no longer afford to support the EU defense, the US is also undergoing difficult times. Europe needed that support in the days of the Warsaw Pact but this is no loner an issue.

It is time they foot the cost of their own defense as their concerns are no loner always in line with the US, alliances with the EU for sure. The concerns in the East are out weighing the concerns in the west and much of that 711 billion is needed there more than here.
15:37 November 5, 2012 by sonriete
I totally agree with the above, I think everyone agrees NATO is a relic from the cold war days

But I doubt any initiative will come from the European side, since while the Americans can be overbearing, from a European perspective, why not just let them keep paying?

Some of what we see now is downright ironic, Germany phasing out all of the nuclear plants that provide cheap energy which allows industry to thrive, while at the same time American nuclear weapons, whose only purpose is mass destruction continuing to be based on German soil. with no end in sight.

What can one say, I suppose that is the price of having someone else pay for much of your defense.
15:45 November 5, 2012 by ChrisRea
"America can no longer afford to support the EU defense" - oh, I thought that in the last decade and so NATO focused its efforts in Afghanistan, as a result of US invoking Article 5 after the September 11 attacks. So it is not true that the other NATO members are sending troops in Afghanistan to fight the Talibans that threaten US? Against who is Europe supposedly to be defended?
16:09 November 5, 2012 by sonriete
I would like to think nobody would threaten Europe, but why is Vladimir Putin tripling his "defense" budget and upgrading his nuclear weapons?

I would hope only because of the big border he shares with China, who are also hugely increasing "defense" spending, but how are we to read his mind? He is certainly no democrat, if you don't believe me, ask Bashar Al Assad,
16:27 November 5, 2012 by ChrisRea
"why is Vladimir Putin tripling his defense budget" - hmm, maybe it has something to do with attitudes like the one recently expressed by US presidential candidate Romney (who speaks of Russia as a "geopolitical foe" of the US)?

Did you mentioned Assad because NATO is/might be used to protect the traditional US protegee, Israel, against him?
17:03 November 5, 2012 by sonriete
no, Assad came to my mind because he is so clearly an undemocratic leader being propped up by Russia.

I suppose you could saty the same of the gulf states and the USA though.
Today's headlines
Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers
A demo in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. File photo: DPA

Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers

There's little to break the monotony of communist-era apartment blocks stretching across Marzahn-Hellersdorf, an east Berlin satellite district that has gained national notoriety for a spate of anti-foreigner protests. READ  

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat
Photo: DPA

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Quito would be giving back about $8.5 million donated by Germany last year, in an environmental row. READ  

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn
Photo: DPA

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn

German bank BayernLB is seeking €345 million ($423 million) in a lawsuit against Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone over the 2006 sale of the sport's rights, according to a report. READ  

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany
Joachim Löw holding the World Cup trophy. File photo: DPA

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany

World Cup winners Germany have suffered something of a hangover since their triumph in Brazil, but coach Joachim Löw is hoping a new-look side can go on to claim more glory at Euro 2016. READ  

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges
Photo: DPA

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges

German mobile phone company T-Mobile has agreed to pay at least $90 million to settle US government claims that it bilked customers with bogus charges, US regulators said Friday. READ  

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,168
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd