David Cameron has arrived in Berlin for talks with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the last stop on a two-day charm offensive on key European leaders that seeks to win support for EU reforms before an in-out referendum promised by 2017.
The PM was greeted by a full military guard of honour outside Berlin’s chancellery, where Merkel will attempt to keep Britain in the EU while appearing not to concede to his demands for limits on migrants’ benefits.
Merkel’s advisors have cautiously admitted that the chancellor would consider it a failure of her chancellorship if a Brexit were to happen on her watch.
Despite the frustrations over what the German government sees as Cameron’s rather overly confident approach – and the distinct impression that he’s “spoiling for a fight” as an opinion piece in Die Welt put it, in a country more used to consensus than confrontation – there are few in Berlin who want to see Britain leave.
Cameron travelled to Germany from Warsaw, where he had a breakfast meeting with the Polish prime minister, Ewa Kopacz, after which Downing Street admitted the issue of migrants’ access to national welfare systems needed to be “discussed further”.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “There was much they could agree on: making Europe more competitive by strengthening the single market, cutting back red tape, ensuring fairness between euro-ins and euro-outs and more subsidiarity, respecting the sovereignty of member states.
Source: The Guardian