Germany backs UK over calls for 'fairness' in EU reforms

 
Angela Merkel and David Cameron Mrs Merkel has said reforming the European Union will not be a "piece of cake"

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David Cameron's hopes of renegotiating the UK's place in the European Union have been boosted after Germany said any future changes must be fair to nations not using the single currency.

Its finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said countries outside the eurozone should not be put at a "systematic disadvantage" by future integration.

Writing in the Financial Times, he said legal protections must be put in place.

No 10 said it amounted to the German government publicly backing its case.

Mr Cameron has said that if the Conservatives win the 2015 election, he will seek to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership of the European Union and put the outcome to an in-out referendum of the British people in 2017.

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Britain has lavished huge diplomatic attention on Germany and it's clearly paying off”

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The prime minister says moves towards deeper economic and political integration within the eurozone are a trigger for the UK to secure a "better deal" in Europe and redraft the terms of its membership.

He has suggested that existing EU treaties will need to be rewritten - although France has signalled that it does not believe this is a priority at the moment.

The UK has long maintained that safeguarding national interests, such as fair access to the European single market and protecting the City of London, will be vital in any future process.

In the joint FT article, Chancellor George Osborne and his German counterpart said any changes to EU treaties must "guarantee fairness" to all member states.

Wolfgang Schauble German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble wrote the article with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

"As the euro area continues to integrate, it is important that countries outside the euro area are not at a systematic disadvantage in the EU," the two said.

The pair added: "So future EU reform and treaty change must include reform of the governance framework to put euro area integration on a sound legal basis, and guarantee fairness for those EU countries inside the single market but outside the single currency."

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What we see is Germany accepting that there needs to be these proper safeguards put in place as further changes are made for the eurozone”

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It is the first time Germany has publicly indicated that countries such as the UK must not be put at a disadvantage by eurozone nations' moves to integrate more closely.

Downing Street said Mr Schauble's comments amounted to the German government stating publicly for the first time that safeguards for non-eurozone states should not simply be negotiated on a case-by-case basis as the single currency area takes further steps towards integration, but should be underpinned formally in the EU treaties.

A No 10 spokesman said it was vital that there was a "level-playing field" between countries inside and outside the euro.

"What we see is Germany, one of the leading players in the eurozone, accepting that there needs to be these proper safeguards put in place as further changes are made for the eurozone."

"This is a German finance minister coming out and saying there will be treaty change and it must include reform of the framework to ensure the right safeguards between euro-ins and euro-outs."

The BBC's Ben Wright said the prime minister and Conservative backbenchers would be delighted that the Germans were "clearly receptive" to their concerns.

The Euro logo in front of the European Central bank The joint article calls for the European Union to "guarantee fairness"

The timing of the comments would also be welcome in No 10, he added, coming as the debates between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have put the issue of what can be achieved in Europe top of the political agenda.

But this would not be enough on its own, he added, to satisfy Conservative MPs who have been promised a return of powers from Brussels to London.

Mr Cameron has been seeking to get Germany's backing for its reform agenda in Europe but on a visit to the UK earlier this month, Chancellor Angela Merkel bwarned it would not be "a piece of cake".

Reacting to Friday's development, Conservative MP Mark Reckless said the dialogue between Berlin and London was "excellent" but the UK had to decide what kind of relationship it wanted with the eurozone.

"Although the Germans are not going to remake the EU to suit the UK, and the prospect of treaty change does seem to be receding, Germany sells more to the UK than any other country in the world and it is clear they will be keen to maintain free trade and friendly relations were we to vote for a future outside the EU," he told Radio 4's World at One.

But Conservative MP Douglas Carswell struck a cautious tone about what was being promised.

"Hurray! British and German governments promising us EU reform and "subsidiarity" in the FT. Just like the 1990s all over again," he tweeted.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 139.

    60. shaun
    Funny how this story appears after Nick Glegg got cooked alive my Mr Farrage the other day,

    ________

    (Glegg?) That debate was like watching 2 Conference League teams who think they are in a Champion's League final. The whole thing was set up to appease the nay-sayers. Just as Enoch Powell said should happen. Mission accomplished I'd say. In the real world, it was totally irrelevant.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 138.

    For the europhiles who believe that euroscepticism is unique to the UK spend 5 minutes reading the following

    http://ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR79_EUROSCEPTICISM_BRIEF_AW.pdf


    and for the blinkered who think euroscepticism is the preserve of right wing loonies have a butchers at the following

    http://www.tuaeuc.org/no2eu-wp/?page_id=77

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 137.

    " ...eurozone nations' move to integrate more closely". Do we want closer integration? I think not. A united states of Europe is not what we signed up for.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 136.

    "Germany to revise EU migrant benefits to stop abuses"

    "Germany backs UK over calls for Eurozone protection"

    Looks like the rose-tinted glasses are starting to slip on this undemocratic pet-project. The fact that we were lied to about the EEC and only those who are over 59 were able to even vote on it WILL BE REMEMBERED. I will NEVER vote for the Dictatorial LibLabCons. Never. They're Traitors.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 135.

    104.Rebecca Riot
    6 Minutes ago
    Holding a referendum over whether to leave or stay in the EU is a load of nonsense and because of having to satisfy the parochial & xenophobe minority of Brit population, UKIP types,


    So, Rebecca, if we're sceptical of the EU, it makes us Xenophobic? Your opinion is everything that's wrong with this country today.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 134.

    Leaving the EU is insane. We'd still have to abide by EU rules in order to do business with them, but we'd have no say in making those rules. It would be economic suicide too. Since most of our exports are to the EU - manufacturing companies would leave the UK in droves to avoid higher export costs. This will kill attempts to diversify our economy away from services, making us vulnerable.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 133.

    126.h "is that the best you can do in terms of presenting a reasoned argument?"

    The BBC CHOSE to foment hatred and division by changing from a long form HYS to the 400 character format.

    This happened on the arrival of Chris Patten as Chairman. The right wing was threatened and wanted to censor debate.

    The inevitable consequence was/is an upsurge in extremism (UKIP - which you cannot criticise!)

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 132.

    ''Mr Cameron said that if the Conservatives win the 2015 election, he will seek to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership''

    What does that mean?

    ''the interests of non-eurozone states must be protected.''

    Meaning?

    'looking ahead we can create a flexible & outward-looking EU"

    Meaning ?

    "we need to change the political shape of the EU in keeping with the times"

    Meaning?

    All babble !

  • rate this
    +44

    Comment number 131.

    EU was a good idea to combine force & counter "devide & rule". I'd argue (won't be a popular view) w/o EU today's Europe could be a pile of has-been states. Nothing like the power we still are today.

    However EU should remain a league of partners, not a top-down dictatorship interfering with non-economic affairs e.g. legal & political issues.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 130.

    104.Rebecca Riot.
    There is nothing xenophobic about being eurosceptic. We are not racist, we like people from other countries. What we don't like is the organization that is the EU and the centralization of powers away from our own government and parliament.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 129.

    Remember, the gov.t introduced into law the guarantee that any new policy from the EU that changed the rules, or was seen to be unfair to the UK, would automatically invoke a referendum on our EU membership. Clegg was banging on about this on Wednesday night and this policy now makes that practically defunct does it not?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 128.

    112.
    musictechguy


    "The biggest problem coming from Europe is overcrowding of our island and stretching of our health service to breaking point."

    On the other hand it does give me the opportunity to leave this overcrowded island and take up residence somewhere nicer without any difficulty.

  • Comment number 127.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 126.

    Oh dear, is that the best you can do in terms of presenting a reasoned argument?

    typical response from the pro Europe brigade. belittle at every opportunity but offer nothing to counter the argument. today I read on h.y.s reply's bordering on the pathetic. some geezer in Scotland says were doomed if we leave. another says the E.U. has been audited. fails to mentioned "never signed off"

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 125.

    111. Neet
    3 MINUTES AGO
    62.SurvivalOfTheFickest
    17 Minutes ago
    I guess if we get a referendum and choose to leave the EU it would be ruled illegal

    - - - - -

    I fear this is scarily true. Look at Crimea......

    ---

    Actually - Article 50 of the Treaty of the EU - 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

    Crimea isn't a MS.

  • Comment number 124.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 123.

    @GasheadGooner

    A tory majority? The country will end up like the city in Fritz Lang's Metropolis

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 122.

    In the 1970s we voted for the Common Market (a free trade zone) but today we have something very different in the EU and it's direction.

    It is time to debate this properly and decide where we are going with a national referendum.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 121.

    "60. shaun
    Funny how this story appears after Nick Glegg got cooked alive my Mr Farrage the other day, anyone would think the BBC were trying to give the coalition back some credibility that has long since gone"

    I never believe anything that comes through the BBC bias. I can't wait to not having to pay for a licence at 75. Until then I am paying towards BBC propaganda.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 120.

    "104.Rebecca Riot
    Holding a referendum over whether to leave or stay in the EU is a load of nonsense and because of having to satisfy the parochial & xenophobe minority of Brit population, UKIP types, grumpy old right wing Tories & other unwanted rubbish?"

    There speaks the democratic voice of the Left.

 

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