Saturday, 19 November 2011

Merkel and Cameron on EU and euro

Thursday, the German chancellor Angela Merkel met the new prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Friday brought the UK prime minister David Cameron to Berlin for talks about the European Union, the eurozone crisis and bilateral issues.

David Cameron

Merkel started the press conference by emphasising the common interest of Germany and the United Kingdom to make the European Union competitive. Both countries want the internal market to succeed. The EU budget for 2012 should acknowledge the domestic consolidation efforts by keeping in line with inflation, but nothing more.

A strong eurozone is in Britain's interest. Stricter rules and enforcement require limited treaty change among the members of the eurozone, according to Merkel.

Prime minister David Cameron underlined the common aims concerning the internal market, budget discipline and the EU budget. A sustainable euro is in everyone's interest, although differences remain regarding crisis measures.

Merkel and Cameron are united on a global financial transaction tax (FTT), but not on a European one.

Cameron replied to the Bild magazine headline about what the UK is (still) doing in Europe, by stressing his country's positive role for competitiveness and productivity.

The institutions of the eurozone need to defend the currency and to take all the necessary measures, according to Cameron.

The United Kingdom remains outside the Euro Group of 17 countries, the euro summits, the ECB and the Euro Plus Pact joining 23 EU members (see EUCO paragraphs 11-12 and Annex I), but it is hard to guess how Cameron's friendly advice was received deep down by his step-by-step host.

CDU positions

Previously we have looked at some differences between Germany and Britain in European politics: the CDU party conference, European values, British Europe as an alternative, Ireland as a risk to needed treaty reform, the euro area and the EU, as well as CDU's next steps to overcome the euro crisis.

Ralf Grahn