28th May 2023

Cameron meets Merkel to discuss EU powers

  • Cameron and Merkel recently found common ground on the EU budget (Photo:

British Prime Minister David Cameron is travelling to Germany for a family weekend at Angela Merkel's holiday retreat, where he will try to convince the Chancellor to back him on re-evaluating EU's powers.

Cameron is set to arrive in Meseberg - a Prussian summer residence 70km north of Berlin - on Friday evening (12 April) together with his wife Samantha and their three children.

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Merkel will meet Cameron there at 18h00 and show him around the castle. Another meeting is scheduled for Saturday morning at 9.30.

On the agenda, according to a German government spokesman, are bilateral and European issues - including Britain's desire for a revamp of EU powers - as well as the situation in Syria, Iran's nuclear programme and an upcoming G8 meeting in northern Ireland under British chairmanship.

The meeting comes after Cameron had to abruptly interrupt his European tour after the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

In an interview with five newspapers ahead of his trip, Cameron said his visit was more than just to present a "shopping list" of British demands, after his key speech earlier this year announcing a complete review of EU powers followed by a referendum on the British membership in 2017.

Cameron has since tried to get Berlin, Paris and Madrid on board for his "reform" agenda, but a questionnaire on EU powers sent to the mainland European capitals was ignored in France and Germany.

But Merkel is not completely against Cameron's reformist push and is likely to find some common ground, as she did during the EU budget negotiations when Germany sided with Britain on more budget cuts.

“The thing we do agree about is that the European Commission should start doing less,” Cameron said.

"I think this should be a discussion across Europe about how we make the European Union more flexible, and how we make clear that powers can flow back to nation states as well as flow forward to the European Union," he added.

Repatriation of powers is also a topic for the more Conservative wing in Merkel's party - but not on economic affairs where Merkel wants to see a bigger role for Brussels in controlling profligate states.

With general elections coming up in September, Merkel is unlikely to commit to any radical overhaul of EU powers. But she may find some support for her pet projects: free trade agreements with countries such as the US and India, which she is convinced will help the European economy better recover than bailouts.

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