Cameron "heartened" by German conservatives' support for EU reform

Prime Minister David Cameron feels "very heartened" by the support he has received from conservative parties in Germany for his EU reform proposals ahead of an in-out referendum to be held in Britain before the end of 2017.

Cameron was speaking at the party conference of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), whose views on returning powers to national parliaments and curbing benefits for migrants are closely aligned with his own.

"I feel very heartened by the good will I've felt from fellow sister parties and from the CSU here in Bavaria today," Cameron said in an address on Thursday, after holding talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel the previous evening.

Cameron is intent on enlisting German help in getting the EU reform deal he wants and assuaging eurosceptic hardliners in his base before Britons decide on their continued membership in less than two years.

"I want to make sure [the British people] have the very best choice of staying in a reformed European Union," he said. "... part of Europe for trade and cooperation, working together over the security challenges that we face, but not joining the euro [and] not being part of the Schengen no-borders agreement."

Earlier on Thursday, Germany's mass circulation newspaper Bild published an op-ed by Cameron in which the British leader argues that "Germany can help" push for changes that might persuade Britons to vote in favour of remaining in the bloc.

The proposals he outlines in the article include returning powers to national parliaments, "reducing excessive administration and trade constraints," creating more flexibility for employers and curbing benefits for migrants for the first four years.

Cameron arrived in the Bavarian resort town of Wildbad Kreuth on Wednesday to attend a party conference hosted by the CSU, Merkel's conservative allies in the southern state.

CSU chief Horst Seehofer, who has repeatedly butted heads with Merkel over his bid for stringent immigration controls, said that Cameron's view on benefits were "CSU through and through."

The British premier is scheduled to leave Bavaria later in the day for Budapest, where he plans to hold talks on EU reform and other topics with his Hungarian counterpart, the right-wing conservative Viktor Orban.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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