• Germany's news in English

'Cameron's red carpet reeks of desperation'

Tom Bristow · 27 Feb 2014, 11:10

Published: 27 Feb 2014 11:10 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The British may be rolling out the “reddest of red carpets” for Merkel - tea with the Queen, an address to both Houses of Parliament - but for the chancellor this is not even the most important foreign visit of the week.

That came on Monday and Tuesday, when she took members of her cabinet to Israel and stayed overnight. Compare that to her UK tour which will last six hours.

Merkel will be given virtually every possible honour in London on Thursday and the trip is a great moment to show how strong the UK-German relationship is. But the problem Cameron faces is Merkel simply cannot deliver the EU reform he wants and needs and she has little interest in doing so.

Both want a more competitive EU and Germany does not wish to see the UK leave the 28-member bloc.

But Merkel is not prepared to make concessions to Cameron in order to make his life easier. Come 2017 when there may or may not be a referendum in the UK on EU membership, Merkel will have finished her third term.

Europe depends on balances of power but in this relationship Merkel seems to be holding all the cards.

Nothing puts a person off like the smell of desperation. Cameron’s red carpet reeks of it.

Compare tea with the Queen and speaking before both Houses of Parliament to the visit of French President Hollande at the end of January. He got a pub lunch in Oxfordshire.

READ MORE Analysis & Opinion from The Local here

'Nothing is free in London'

The lack of importance attached to Merkel’s visit in Germany is reflected by the domestic press which only started covering it on Thursday. And that coverage has not been favourable to the British who have been accused of “hype” and having unrealistic expectations.

For the Süddeutsche Zeitung the British Prime Minister “can’t show enough how important he is to her”.

Meanwhile, the Spiegel wrote: “Cameron is sparing no expense to win the Chancellor round to EU reforms but Merkel is following her own agenda.”

“The opulent programme” is designed to impress the guest from Berlin, it said. “But nothing is free in London.”

“In return for nice photos with the Queen, Cameron expects support for his EU reform.”

It also accused Cameron’s Conservative Party of overestimating Merkel’s influence in the EU. “All 27 states would have to agree to Cameron’s treaty change and the majority of them have little interest in that,” it noted.

“Cameron wants more than Merkel wants to give”, ran the headline in Die Welt on Thursday.

It accused the Conservative coalition government of having “unattainable expectations”.

“The difference in expectations around the visit on the two sides of the Channel could not be more different,” it said.

It also noted how the British press had been building up the visit for weeks, while German papers are leaving the job to their London correspondents rather than sending extra journalists to cover the trip. 

SEE ALSO: British Embassy cordon could be lifted after 11 years

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

Tom Bristow (tom.bristow@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd