BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the parliament on Wednesday that to keep Britain as an active member of the European Union (EU) is in the national interest of Germany.
Addressing the German parliament ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday, Merkel said Britain’s demands for EU reforms are in many respects “justified and understandable.”
“These are not just about Britain’s individual interests. They are about the desire for more competitiveness and transparency as well as the requirement that countries that are not members of the euro zone should not be discriminated against and ignored,” said Merkel.
The request of British Prime Minister David Cameron to remove disincentives in the social security systems was also justified, said Merkel.
“It goes without saying that each member country must be able to protect its own social system,” Merkel said, adding that free movement and non-discrimination should not be questioned.
“These principles are not negotiable,” stressed Merkel.
Cameron has been meeting and talking with leaders of other EU member states in an attempt to secure agreement for the renegotiation of Britain’s membership in the EU. The EU leaders are scheduled to discuss the matter at a summit in Brussels later this week.
Cameron has pledged to hold an “in or out” referendum on whether Britain should withdraw from the EU by 2017. He promised to campaign for his country to remain in the bloc if the EU agrees to reform as Britain has requested. -Agencies