Angela Merkel has pleaded with Britain to remain a “strong voice” in the EU but warned that the country cannot expect special treatment if David Cameron embarks on a renegotiation of Britain’s membership terms after a Conservative election victory.
The German chancellor opened her speech to a joint session of parliament in English to drive home her message of Britain’s central role in the EU, coupled with a warning that the patience of the EU’s other 27 leaders with the UK is finite.
MPs and peers laughed as Merkel, who recalled her first visit to London in the spring of 1990 shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, said those expecting a “fundamental reform of the European architecture” in Britain’s direction would be disappointed.
The German chancellor gave little indication whether she would countenance a major revision of the Lisbon treaty – a key Cameron demand to allow him to table his demands – when she said simply that new eurozone governance arrangements would be introduced through the “necessary legal instruments”.
But in the final flourish of her speech, also delivered in English, Merkel said Germany regarded Britain as a vital ally in reforming the EU. “We need a strong United Kingdom with a strong voice inside the EU,” she said. “If we have that we will be able to make the necessary changes for the benefit of all.”
via The Guardian