Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

Germany makes case for British EU membership

  • London - a valued free trade-oriented EU member, says Germany (Photo: UK Parliament)

Germany has told the UK it is an important and needed member of the European Union, just days after London spelled out its deep ambivalence about its EU future.

"Britain is an important partner in the European Union," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a meeting of her centre-right CDU party on Monday (29 October), adding that she would travel to London next week to meet Prime Minister David Cameron.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She noted London's emphasis on free trade and the single market, with Berlin viewing the UK as a key counterbalance to more protectionist-minded southern states.

"Britain has to some extent other ideas (about Europe), it does not want such close integration. But from the German perspective, from the point of view of our interests it is an important member of the EU. They are for free trade, for greater competitiveness, so they are a very good partner," she said, according to Reuters.

Her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said much the same at an event in Saint Anthony's College in Oxford.

"In my view the British voice is sorely needed in this competition of ideas," he said, with the EU currently discussing future reforms.

"I firmly believe Europe would be the poorer without this input to our debates. Britain should retain and regain a place at the centre of Europe because this will be good for the European Union."

The public display of diplomatic affection comes after what has been seen as a change in the UK's relations with the EU.

London has long been known for its luke-warm EU disposition - clearly on display in a speech by foreign minister William Hague in Berlin last week. But in recent months its expressions of disaffection have increasingly been met with shrugs of indifference as other member states attempt to overcome the eurozone's financial and economic problems.

The EU's own response to London's criticism has become more aggressive.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso attends debates in the European Parliament armed with facts on Britain so he can retaliate to jibes from British eurosceptics. Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski, recently defending the EU's proposed budget, was able to spell out exactly how much the EU budget costs in comparison to British spending on its fire brigade.

Meanwhile the EU's long-term budget itself, due to be negotiated at a summit on 22-23 November in Brussels, is being viewed as something of a testing point in London's EU relations.

Prime Minister Cameron, under severe pressure from his own Conservative party to deliver a hardline stance on Europe, threatened to veto the budget if he considers it too high.

The tense relations between London and Brussels has prompted former prime minister Tony Blair to take the stage on EU affairs once more.

In a speech to the Council for the Future of Europe in Berlin on Monday, Blair said creating a two-speed Europe would put the EU on a "path to break up."

"It is massively in Britain's interest not to play short-term politics with this issue. Personally I would like to see the UK take a constructive role in shaping this new union," he said, according to the Guardian.

UK threatens to veto EU budget

British conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will block the upcoming EU seven-year budget cycle if it goes against UK interests.

Hague makes case for minimalist EU

British foreign minister Hague has made the case for a politically minimalist European Union as it prepares to audit its relations with Brussels.

EU to be federalised in the long run, Merkel says

The EU commission will eventually become a government, the council of member states an "upper chamber" and the European Parliament will be more powerful, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Brussels.

Catalonia to declare independence in a few days

Spain's king, Felipe VI, said Catalonia's leaders were breaking up the country's unity as hundreds of thousands of Catalans rallied against police violence at Sunday's referendum.

Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo

Counting continues, but after his victory in Sunday's election, conservative leader Sebastian Kurz is likely to form a coalition with the far-right and could become one of the most vocal critics of EU policies among the bloc's leaders.

Brexit 'deadlock' prevents move to trade negotiations

EU negotiator Barnier also said after the latest round of Brexit talks that with political will, progress can be achieved in the next two months - in time for the December EU summit to give the green light.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. New privacy rules tilted to industry, says NGO
  2. Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  3. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  4. May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture
  5. EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms
  6. 'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities
  7. In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies
  8. Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo