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Merkel insists there is a will to reform EU immigration

Thursday, 08 January 2015

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered only faint hope that David Cameron will find a “common solutions” to concerns raised by the UK about the functioning of the European Union.

Mrs Merkel told a Downing Street press conference that “where there’s a will there’s a way” on EU renegotiations, but stopped short of offering firm assurances on the prime minister’s bid for new immigration rules.

At private meeting the PM was pressing the case for renegotiation of EU rules, including the right of migrants to claim welfare benefits in other member states.

Mrs Merkel’s one-day visit to London was overshadowed by the murder of journalists and cartoonists of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

During a visit to the British Museum to view its exhibition on German history ahead of their talks, Mrs Merkel described the massacre as “barbarous” and Mr Cameron condemned it as an “appalling terrorist outrage”.

Mrs Merkel said that there was “great overlap” between priorities which Germany and Britain share to boost trade and growth and cut red tape.

Referring to Mr Cameron’s call for a renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership, the German Chancellor said: “As regards our future co-operation within the European Union, I can only build on what I said earlier on. Where there is a will, there is a way to find common solutions.”

She pointed out that it had been possible to find agreement on the EU’s budget - known as the “financial perspective” - despite initial differences with the UK which some thought would block a deal.

“Issues were discussed here in Downing Street on the financial perspective, for example, and it was not at all clear at the time that we would find a way, but we stuck together and we brought about a solution, we found indeed a way,” said Mrs Merkel.

Mr Cameron said the Chancellor’s comment that “where there’s a will there’s a way” was “very much my attitude too”.

“I welcome the Chancellor’s willingness to work with us to find solutions,” he said.

“We have shown over the last five years what we can achieve together, over the budget, over the single market, over making Europe more competitive.

“I want to fix the problems in Britain’s relationship with the EU, which the British people can find very frustrating.”


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