Cameron and Merkel announce need for “urgent” EU reforms
David Cameron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been discussing possible EU reforms during talks between the two leaders at the chancellor’s official guest residence, Schloss Meseberg near Berlin.
The talks come after the Prime Minister set out plans earlier this year to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with Brussels and to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU by 2017, something the German Chancellor is understood to be concerned about.
After the summit, a Downing Street spokesman said: “On the EU the PM set out his approach to European reform, following on from his speech in January. They agreed on the urgent need to make Europe more competitive and flexible and talked about ways to achieve this.”
Regarding trade, the leaders articulated their eagerness for “faster progress on trade deals between the EU and the rest of the world” and expressed their opinion that the EU should make an “ambitious offer” to the US during trade negotiations set to take place this summer.
Cameron and Merkel also discussed the approaching G8 summit, which is being hosted by the Prime Minister at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June. Of particular significance was the role of G8 countries in tackling tax evasion and tax avoidance.
The two leaders agreed that the G8 countries should “show global leadership by taking concrete action on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance and making clear that everyone must pay their fair share of taxes,” Downing Street said.
The Prime Minister has vowed to use his chairmanship of the G8 to “drive a more serious debate on tax evasion and avoidance”.
Tax avoidance has become an important election issue for the German Chancellor after recent controversy in Germany exposed aggressive tax avoidance within the country.
The situation in Syria was also discussed with both leaders expressing “grave concerns” over the violence there, agreeing to increase pressure on the Assad regime and to strengthen the moderate opposition.
The Prime Minister’s trip to Germany is the first time he has been accompanied by his wife and children on an official visit. Inviting Mr Cameron’s family to stay has been seen as an indication of the excellent working relationship the two leaders have, despite their differences on a number of significant issues.