Merkel brings no electoral gift for Cameron
DPA/The Local · 8 Jan 2015, 10:48
Published: 08 Jan 2015 08:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Jan 2015 10:48 GMT+01:00
„Where there's a will, there's a way to find collaborative solutions“ was all Merkel would say on the vexed questions of free movement and so-called 'benefit tourism' within the EU - although the Prime Minister professed himself "convinced" that the EU would find a solution to the "very frustrating" problems the British public see in the Union.
Merkel stuck to her position that there was no way EU citizens' freedom to live and work freely in other member states could be limited, although she admitted that more could be done to stop people moving from country to country to abuse social welfare systems.
Britain has been engaged in a charm offensive towards Germany ever since David Cameron promised his fractious Conservative party that he would renegotiate the terms of the UK relationship with the EU and offer the public a referendum if he is re-elected as Prime Minister in May.
Both leaders took time during their press conference to condemn today's attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
The headline discussions of the meeting covered plans for the upcoming G7 meeting to be hosted by Germany in June.
Heads of the world's leading economies – excluding Russia since the Ukraine crisis – will gather in Bavaria to discuss the Paris climate conference slated for December, protection of the sea, health questions including Ebola and the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections, and women's rights.
On Ukraine, Chancellor Merkel said that she found the British and German approaches had "a very concerted approach", while Cameron added that they planned to discuss the topic further over dinner.
On other questions, including the importance of maintaining Greek membership of the Euro single currency following the country's new parliamentary elections later this month, the leaders were united.
"We've already put a great stretch of road behind us", Merkel said. "I have absolutely no doubt that we'll be able to cover the rest together."
Her statement to the press came in the wake of a weekend report that Germany saw a Greek exit from the Euro as "manageable", hotly denied by government spokespeople.
The pair had previously visited the "Germany: Memories of a nation" exhibition at the British Museum, where curator Neil MacGregor showed them objects he had selected to tell the story of Germany including an original copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales and a set of Bauhaus scales.
Merkel called the visit to the Museum a "very enriching" experience that allowed her to look at German history from a different perspective.
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