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David Cameron to hold crunch talks with Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel meets David Cameron in January Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga / PA Wire

David Cameron is to round off his whirlwind tour of major European leaders with a crucial meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Prime Minister is looking to build support for his plans to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership of the EU, and he'll need the agreement of the German premier if he is to have any hope of success.

However, there has been little sign of enthusiasm for treaty change. France and Germany have reportedly agreed that closer integration of the eurozone countries can be achieved without altering treaties - potentially reducing Britain's leverage.

This morning Mr Cameron will be in Warsaw for talks with Polish counterpart Ewa Kopacz, before heading for Berlin to see Mrs Merkel.

Cameron: France is an essential and valued partner of UK

The Prime Minister has met French President Francois Hollande in Paris to discuss potential changes to the EU treaty which he says could benefit both countries.

David Cameron has met French President Francois Hollande Credit: RTV

Describing France as an "essential and valued partner of Britain", David Cameron said the two countries might have different priorities, but similar aims for the future, and said he hoped they could reach an agreement - including on issues such as tackling extremism and climate change.

France is an essential and valued partner of Britain. Our economies are interwoven, and we are two major military powers in the EU, with global reach and shared values.

My priority is to reform the European Union to make it more competitive, and address the concerns of the British people about our membership. The status quo is not good enough, and I believe there are changes we can make which will not just benefit Britian, but the rest of Europe too.

Of course, the priority for Francois is to strengthen the Eurozone, to ensure a successful single currency, and Britain supports that.

We have different priorities, but we share a common objective - to find solutions to these problems.

– David Cameron


Cameron begins EU tour to try to build support for change

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has warned that the British people are likely vote to leave the EU unless there is substantial reform in Brussels.

He spoke as David Cameron began a whistlestop tour of Europe, meeting political leaders in a bid to build support for change.

ITV News deputy political editor Chris Ship reports:

Cameron meets Dutch PM to discuss EU reform

David Cameron said the UK and the Netherlands were "old friends and like-minded allies" as he met with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte in The Hague.

David Cameron and Mark Rutte Credit: RTV

Among the issues to be discussed will be European reform, the need for flexibility and the need to focus on growth and jobs, Mr Cameron said.

The Hague is the first of four European capitals the Prime Minister is visiting on a whirlwind tour to discuss his plans to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership of the European Union with key leaders.

Later Mr Cameron will travel to Paris in France where he will meet with President Hollande.

'Substantial' EU reform needed for referendum win

The Government will not win its referendum on Britain's continued membership of the European Union unless there is "substantial" reform in Brussels, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has warned.

Philip Hammond Credit: Pa Wire

Speaking to the BBC, Hammond said: "The Prime Minister is very clear in dealing with European counterparts that if we are not able to deliver on these big areas of concern that the British people have, we will not win the referendum when it comes.

"We expect our European Union partners to engage with us in delivering a package that will enable the British people to decide that Britain's future is best delivered inside the European Union.

"We expect that some of our partners will adopt a hard line at the start of the negotiations - that's how negotiation works - but we are very confident that, over the course of the summer and perhaps onwards through the winter, we will be able to negotiate a substantial package of reform which will address the concerns that the British people have."


SNP will make 'positive case' for EU membership

The SNP will make "a positive case" for keeping the UK in the European Union, one of its new MPs has told Parliament.

In his maiden speech to the Commons, Stephen Gethins, MP for North East Fife, also said that his party would try and get as many people voting as possible.

He said: "We want to look at a positive case, even look at some areas where we could be deepening our relationship with our European partners."

He added that "the Scottish referendum provided many lessons", especially "including as many of our citizens as we possibly can in a debate about the future of our respective nations".

Farage: EU referendum question is 'so much fudge'

Nigel Farage has criticised the question Credit: Jeff Moore/Empics

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has criticised the wording of the question that will be asked at the EU referendum.

Because David Cameron "is opting to give the pro-EU side the positive 'Yes'", he said, "suggests strongly that his negotiations are so much fudge".

"He has already decided which way he wants the answer to be given, without a single power repatriated."

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