• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Cameron woos Germans with EU reform plan
Photo: DPA

Cameron woos Germans with EU reform plan

AFP · 7 Jan 2016, 12:00

Published: 07 Jan 2016 08:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Jan 2016 12:00 GMT+01:00

Cameron is seeking backing for his demands for EU reforms, which he is battling to secure before Britain's referendum on membership in the 28-nation bloc by the end of 2017.

Speaking in southern Germany, where he held talks with the Christian Social Union - sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU - Cameron said he was "even more confident after the discussions here that these (reforms) are possible and not just good for Britain but actually good for Europe".

"Not simply because other European countries will benefit by Britain continuing to be a member of Europe, but I think it's important that (the EU) shows it has the flexibility of a network and can address concerns of an individual member rather than the rigidity of a bloc," he said.

Cameron wants the EU to cut bureaucracy and shift more powers from Brussels to member states.

He is also seeking guarantees that Britain will be protected from closer EU political integration and from economic decisions made by the 19 EU members that use the euro currency.

Those demands have so far proven relatively uncontroversial.

However, a key sticking point for several EU members is Cameron's aim to restrict benefits for EU migrants for their first four years in Britain.

Critics of the plan say the measure would harm the EU's central tenets of non-discrimination between EU citizens and freedom of movement between member states.

'Germany can help'

While Merkel is seen as generally supportive of Britain's position, she has said that "the fundamental achievements of European integration" are not up for debate, in what is a clear reference to this proposal.

The CSU however has more eurosceptic leanings than its bigger sister party, the CDU, and has signalled support for Cameron's bid to limit benefits for EU migrants.

In an article for Germany's Bild newspaper on Thursday, Cameron also reiterated his belief that the changes he is seeking "will benefit the EU too, and Germany can help deliver them."

"We want to stop people taking out from a welfare system without contributing to it first," Cameron wrote.

"Like Germany, Britain believes in the principle of free movement of workers. But that should not mean the current freedom to claim all benefits from day one and that's why I've proposed restricting this for the first four years."

Cameron is later expected to travel to Hungary for talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has come under fire from fellow EU states for his hardline stance against a record influx of refugees to Europe.

The British leader is keen to avoid a so-called "Brexit", but faces a large eurosceptic contingent within his Conservative party and growing public discontent over Britain's relationship with Brussels.

Highlighting divisions over the EU, Cameron on Tuesday said his ministers would be allowed to campaign for or against Britain's EU membership ahead of the referendum.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Trabi totalled on Autobahn after skidding on snail slime
Photo: Paderborn police

A vintage East German "Trabi" car has come unstuck after its driver hit a snail trail on the Autobahn.

Munich 'to spend extra €2.2m' on Oktoberfest security
Oktoberfest in Munich, 2014. Photo: DPA.

After terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and most recently Istanbul, Munich could spend nearly €3 million more on security and other measures - but terrorism isn't the only concern: the biggest fear is overcrowding.

The Local List
Six ways to make this Munich summer one to remember
The Kocherlball in the English Garden. Photo: DPA

At a loss for what to do with the warm months in Munich this year? These six attractions have to go on your summer bucket list.

Brexit vote
Germans rally on Twitter to show love for UK
Photo: DPA

Twitter was swamped with tributes after Germany's largest liberal newspaper asked readers to show some love for Britain despite its vote to leave the EU.

German kidnaps Swiss child, raising online gaming fears
File photo: Rachel Johnson / Flickr Creative Commons.

A 12-year-old Swiss boy was allegedly abused by a German man he first met online.

'Hero' refugee hands in €150,000 he found in wardrobe
Muhannad and the secondhand wardrobe. Photo: Minden Police.

A refugee from Syria found a huge stash of money in a secondhand wardrobe he bought. But keeping it for himself would have been a betrayal of his religion, he said.

Istanbul airport bombing
Flights from Berlin to Istanbul cancelled after terror attack
Turkish police block the road after an suicide bomb attack at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. Photo: EPA.

All flights from Berlin's Tegel airport to Istanbul have been cancelled after a suicide bomb attack killed at least 36 people in the city's major airport.

German extremist groups 'getting bigger, more brutal'
A violent demo in Frankfurt in 2015. Photo: DPA

Political extremism rose sharply in Germany last year - among far-right but also far-left and Islamist radical groups - the domestic intelligence agency said Tuesday.

Berlin puts spies on tighter leash after NSA scandal
An installation of the BND in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Germany on Tuesday approved new measures to rein in the activities of its foreign intelligence agency after a scandal over improper collusion with the US National Security Agency.

Brexit vote
There's no way back for Britain, says 'sad' Merkel
Angela Merkel (r) and David Cameron in Brussels. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the EU summit in Brussels late on Tuesday that she didn't see any way that the British decision to leave the EU could be reversed.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
7,944
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd