Sunday

26th Feb 2017

Merkel spends family weekend with Cameron

  • Merkel and her husband Sauer (l) showed Cameron around Meseberg castle's gardens (Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel)

A family weekend at a castle near Berlin allowed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron to seek common ground on an EU-US trade agreement and the fight against tax evasion.

The visit was the first time for Cameron to travel abroad for a political assignment with his wife and three children and one of the rare occasions Merkel was accompanied by her husband, Joachim Sauer.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

According to the German chancellery, Merkel's aim was to have some quiet time away from the capital together with a "friendly" head of government.

The move comes after Cameron ruffled feathers in Berlin with his veto against a German-inspired EU treaty on fiscal discipline in December 2011 and a speech earlier this year about the need to reassess Britain's role in the EU.

Merkel's spokesman on Friday (12 April) said once again the Chancellor sees Britain as "an important and indispensable partner in Europe."

Downing Street said in a press release on Saturday the two leaders "agreed on the urgent need to make Europe more competitive and flexible and talked about ways to achieve this."

Cameron's push to claw back powers from Brussels and reassess EU's competences so far has been met with reluctance in Berlin and Paris, as well as Madrid.

But Merkel's informal session was not aimed at further polarising the British leader.

Common ground was found on an upcoming free trade agreement between the EU and the US, which both Merkel and Cameron present as a means of boosting Europe's sluggish economy.

Tax evasion was another area where the two agreed on, after a joint initiative by the finance ministers of Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain - who, on Saturday, were joined by Poland - on exchanging information about bank accounts held by their citizens abroad.

The two-day visit started on Friday evening with a dinner among the two leaders' families and a few English-speaking guests, including David McAllister, a German regional politician of Scottish descent.

On Saturday morning, the two leaders and their advisers held more political talks about EU reforms, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan, as well as the upcoming G8 summit under British chairmanship which will seek a global deal in the fight against tax evasion.

The Meseberg residence - a Baroque castle some 70 km north of Berlin - is Merkel's preferred location for informal talks with leaders away from the the media pressure of the capital.

Last year, she held several sessions with small groups of EU leaders from Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands and Portugal.

The mini-summits were designed to allay concerns among smaller EU states about being marginalised in the debate about the future of the eurozone.

The Cameron visit was however the first time children were also brought along, for whom Merkel prepared presents: a teddy bear for Cameron's youngest daughter, a painting set for his nine-year old daughter and a Lego set for his seven-year old son.

For their part, Merkel and her husband received a Denby tea set from the British couple.

Cameron meets Merkel to discuss EU powers

British leader Cameron is travelling to Germany for a family weekend at Merkel's holiday retreat, to try to convince the Chancellor to back him on re-evaluating EU's powers.

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations