PM, Merkel 'to work together'

David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to work together to make the EU more competitive and flexible, Downing Street has said.

Cameron and Merkel agree to work together on EU

David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to work together to make the EU more competitive and flexible, Downing Street said today.

Following talks at Ms Merkel's guest residence at Schloss Meseberg, Number 10 said the leaders also agreed that the union should be prepared to make an "ambitious offer" in trade talks with the US.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Schloss Meseberg.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Schloss Meseberg. Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

The Prime Minister used his overnight stay in the Brandenburg countryside to set out his plans to renegotiate Britain's relationship with Europe, but the Downing Street statement offered no clue as to how they were received.

Ms Merkel is anxious that Britain should remain in the EU and has made no secret of her concerns about Mr Cameron's plan to stage a referendum on continuing membership if the Conservatives win the next General Election in 2015.

Cameron and Merkel on 'need to make Europe more competitive'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer welcome Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer welcome Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha. Credit: Fabrizio Bensch/DPA/Press Association Images

The Prime Minister and German Chancellor Merkel held talks this morning with their respective teams at the Chancellor's guest residence in Meseberg.

A Downing Street spokesperson 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.

"They both want to see faster progress on trade deals between the EU and the rest of the world. And they agreed that the EU should be prepared to put an ambitious offer on the table for EU-US negotiations which we want to get underway this summer."

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David Cameron and German Chancellor set for EU talks

The Prime Minister will meet the German Chancellor Angela Merkel later today to push for his demands for reforms of the European Union.

Earlier this week, Mr Cameron said he was "sure" there would be treaty change in Europe.

"I'm absolutely convinced that there will be the need to reopen at some stage these treaties, not least to solve the problem of the eurozone".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister David Cameron Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

Mr Cameron was also due to meet French President Francois Hollande on Monday but pulled out of the meeting, following the death of Baroness Thatcher.

Cameron's whistle-stop tour of Europe for talks

The Prime Minister is embarking on the start of a series of talks with EU leaders this week as he aims to put forward his agenda for Europe.

David Cameron is facing resistance from France and Germany over his plans to create fresh EU agreements. Credit: PA

Today, he will make his first official visit to Madrid for bilateral talks with Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy before travelling to Paris for a working dinner with French president Francois Hollande.

He will also meet with German chancellor Angela Merkel later this week.

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PM: EU reform 'not about cherry-picking'

David Cameron insists that EU reform is "not about cherry-picking" rules as he calls for treaty changes that Europe "can benefit from".

In a statement in newspapers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland, he said:

We are a major European power, a major European player. But do we think that the European Union has sometimes overreached itself with directives and interventions and interferences? Yes, it has. And that needs to change.

There are some reforms I think we need to make. Already we're starting to make some of them.

The agenda of the speech is change that all of Europe can benefit from. It is a more competitive, open, flexible Europe for all countries of Europe. And the second thing is that - you know, this is not about cherry-picking, but to argue as some do that you can't have a flexible Europe is wrong.

We can have a flexible Europe where we don't all have to do the same things in the same way at the same time.

Cameron: 'I'm sure there will be treaty change'

I'm sure there will be treaty change. I'm absolutely convinced that there will be the need to reopen at some stage these treaties, not least to solve the problem of the eurozone.

The eurozone in my view needs to have further treaty change, and just as eurozone countries will argue that it's necessary to have treaty change, I think it's perfectly legitimate to argue that non-eurozone countries might need to have treaty changes that suit them."

– Prime Minister David Cameron

Cameron to push his plans to EU leaders

The Prime Minister has insisted he is "sure" there will be treaty change in Europe ahead of a series of talks with EU leaders.

David Cameron is facing resistance from France and Germany over his plans to create fresh EU agreements ahead of his plan to stage an in/out referendum by 2017.

Prime Minister David Cameron

In his keynote speech on Britain's future in Europe earlier this year, Mr Cameron argued a new settlement was needed before voters were asked if they wanted to end ties with Brussels and suggested some reforms would need treaty change.

Ahead of talks with French president Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel, he told reporters three treaties had been put forward and "I'm sure there will be treaty change".

Read: EU referendum: A huge moment in British politics