Coffee House

Cameron & co relieved by Merkel reaction to speech

24 January 2013

4:29 PM

24 January 2013

4:29 PM

Angela Merkel’s statement yesterday was a big fillip to David Cameron’s European strategy as it suggested renegotiation was possible. One senior government source called it ‘as good as we could have hoped for’.

I understand that Merkel and her officials have indicated to the Cameron circle that they want Britain to stay in the EU and are prepared to consider Britain’s concerns. But Merkel does not wish to look like she is interfering in British domestic politics; she doesn’t want to appear to be endorsing the Cameron approach. Secondly, she does not yet know how much room for manoeuvre she has. If after this autumn’s federal election, she is Chancellor of a grand coalition with the SPD then we can expect Germany to be less receptive to Cameron’s demands post-2015. However, if Merkel is governing with one of the smaller parties, then a post-2015 Cameron will be in a stronger position. Also by that time, Merkel and Cameron will be the two veterans of the European scene.

If Cameron is Prime Minister after the next election and Britain does get its referendum, then 2017 will be an eventful year in European politics. There’ll be a British referendum, François Hollande’s re-election attempt in France and federal elections in Germany.

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Show comments
  • Barbara Stevens

    Why wait till 2015, do as German MPs have suggested and hold the referendum now, let them know we intend leaving. They have a point. Why waste time and another 70 billion of our money, probably borrowed, why not settle it once and for all. They won’t give any powers back, as it will open a can of worms for the rest. Why do we demean ourselves by asking? We can see by their reaction, they will give nothing or consider, Merkel is posturing, it means nothing. Cameron is a fool if he believes all this. What he is doing is leaving this nation to the hands of the likes of Miliband and Labour for another five more years, that will be unforgiveable. For me I’ll vote UKIP and hope he gets enough votes to stop Cameron from ruining the Conservative party, but enough to gain seats. If anyone really believes in this country they will vote for UKIP, the rest have had their chances and look where we are. They don’t deserve to be given votes or trust any more. Time for a compelte change and it’s up to us the public to make it happen.

  • Daniel Maris

    Big fillip? Spin.

  • Bill scott

    As far as I can see we obey / comply with all the rules and regulations which emanate from the EU whereas others have been known to pick and choose. If we have to leave the EU we shall survive and almost certainly prosper as the red tape will reduce considerably.

  • RKing

    They have all these meetings to discuss the effects, good or bad on how the EU affects banks and big business but NEVER to discuss how the public are affected or their views and opinions.

    It confirms my views that they don’t give a toss how we the people are affected,
    Too much immigration.
    Shortage of housing.
    Overcrowded NHS service.
    Damage to our countryside and more…….

    We’re just here to pick up the bills when it all fails!!!

    • Daniel Maris


      Sadly I think you’re right. Really, it’s only democracy that makes them give us a second thought.

      That’s why it’s so important that our representative democracy should evolve to a more direct democracy, so we can use referenda to bring our politicians and business leaders to heel when necessary.

      The Swiss have referenda and they have never opened their borders to mass immigration (though they do have a rational immigration policy that suits them). They also have ensured that the appearance of their towns and villages can’t be changed by Saudi money – thanks to referenda.

  • alexsandr

    its not merkel he has to convince, its all the other EU members. Cant see that working. Mebbe someone should go round the first ministers/presidents of the other EU states and ask ‘what powers should be repatriated to GB’ and see what the reaction is.

    • Daniel Maris

      Precisely. And most importantly the French. Why would they be worried by a UK exit?

  • Nigel Jones

    The way Cameron is grateful for any sausage skins flicked from the Fuhrerin’s table is pathetic and demeaning.
    We want to be a free and independent country, not a dependency of Merkel’s Reich.
    Now that the dust is settling after Cameron’s speech even the meanest intelligence can see if for the fraudulent con it was – and the desperate cries of Tories to UKIP to return to their fold show quite clearly who the speech was really aimed at.
    Cameron is an untrustworthy trickster and liar and anyone who beieves a word he says is a gullible fool.

    • Fergus Pickering

      ah well, now we know what you think. It’s the adjectives that give it away. pathetic, demeaning, fraudulent, desperate, untrustworthy, gullible. Over-eggibng, don’t you think, you pathetic, fraudulent, desperate, untrustworthy, gullible fool?.

    • HooksLaw

      You are confusing the headline with reality.
      We are a free country. Even if out of the EU we would need to be a part of the single market like Norway and Switzerland. This would mean agreeing to the rules of the single market, like Norway and Switzerland. This is the reality with free trade agreements

      Your notions are hysterical and downright false. There is very little practical difference between being in the EU or out of it. You can pay your money and make your choice but endlessly repeating cack handed nonsense will not change that fact.

      • Rhoda Klapp2

        Same old lie about Norway. If there’s no difference being out, why make such a fuss about it? To me, there is a big difference in being out. It is one of democracy and liberty. Didn’t you notice when the EU installed a new PM in Greece and Italy?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Yes, the EU did annex the Sudetenl… er… I mean, they did appoint PM’s in those territories, didn’t they? Ein volke, ein reich, ein fuhrerin !

          Ok cheap shot. 😉

          • Daniel Maris

            I advise ein gin.

        • dalai guevara


          the lies on the table concerning Norway are of a different nature. It is simply a flawed affair to attempt and compare the Norwegian outlook with that of Britain.

          Norway sports one of the highest living standards in the world, yes due to some extent to fossil resource (a resource that was also available to us), but the fundamental difference is how those profits were redistributed amongst society. The Norwegian egalitarian model allows them to rank in the top tier in either IHD index, GINI coefficient or Rich/Poor 10% ratio – their outlook with regard to the spreading of their fossil fuel wealth, trade, taxation and the affects on its population as a whole is diametrically opposed to the British business model. We ought to therefore refrain from comparing apples with pears.

        • Barbara Stevens

          Well said, we now see they are trying to censor the press, and stop people from all member states from speaking against the EU, these new press laws would stifle the free press we enjoy and indeed this forum it’s self. Many people are not prepared or aware of this.

      • an ex-tory voter

        Correction, we are not a free country unless we invoke Article 50 and complete the process of regaining our freedom. Then we can join the rest of the free nations and determine our own laws, our own trading partners, our own immigration policies and our own future.

        • dalai guevara

          We are not in Schengen – stop pretending the EU had any influence on our sovereign ability to control our own immigration levels.

      • an ex-tory voter

        Another correction. As a “free nation” Norway sits on global committees determining legislation and trading conditions which are then adopted by the EU. As a member of the EU our voice is drowned out by qualified majority voting. We are forced to accept the EU’s negotiating position rather than what is in our own national interest. Norway has far more influence on the global stage than the UK does.

        • dalai guevara

          The UK civil service is unable to negotiate a basic rail franchise, Olympic security, various PFI contracts (especially the maintenance part), and most importantly any sensible contracts with regard to our defense strategy – the aircraft carrier conundrum marking only the tip of a humongous iceberg.

          Why would you expect these clowns to be in any position of strength when negotiating on an international level?

          We are not forced into anything – the EU negotiating position does not stop Germany from accessing markets in Asia or South America, why on earth should it be the reason that is stopping us?

      • Daniel Maris

        Well even you are right about regulation, it is difficult to see how we wouldn’t avoid the following costs:

        £17 billion of additional food costs resulting from the Common Agricultural

        £3.3 billion – the value of the catch lost when the Common Fisheries Policy
        let other countries fish in our territorial waters

        £14.6 billion gross paid into the EU budget and other EU funds. (In 2011
        this had risen to £19 billion)

        I believe the EU contribution to the UK is something like £6-7 billion. So a saving of something like £28billion could easily be realised.

    • Tom Tom

      Rubbish – words like Reich are about as silly as “Kingdom” United or not

  • telemachus

    Merkel is in the same boat as Cameron
    Both out at the forthcoming elections
    Words are cheap

    • alexsandr

      heck. I agree with telemachus. my world has turned upside down!

      • Noa

        Typing monkeys, old chap, typing monkeys…

    • Tom Tom

      The SPD has a long haul ahead with poll ratings of 23%

    • dalai guevara

      you haven’t got a clue what you are talking about

  • Macky Dee

    As Barroso said: There is only one country that can change the direction of Europe – Germany. Germany will be the Governer of the EU/EZ for decades to come, if not longer. Let’s just get out of the EU altogether.

    • HooksLaw

      Germany may be the governor of the Eurozone, but that is not the EU. The point is that the the problems of the Euro are leading to a new closer fiscal union treaty for the Eurozone members and anyone else willing to join in.
      We will not be a part of that and so we must agree a new relationship and Germany and everyone else will have to deal with us on that.

      What will come round will come round in due course – the Spectator needs to stop hyperventilating about it.

      • an ex-tory voter

        Excellent point, we do need a new relationship. Let’s stop wasting time, we know what will around will come around, will come around, so let’s invoke Article 50 now and begin serious negotiations about the timing and detail of our departure from this failing “country club”.

        • dalai guevara

          There is more than one ‘failing country club’.

          The Portugese will perhaps be able to explain what they get out of the union, but can the Northern Irish?

      • Barbara Stevens

        The problem is it’s not soon enough. We want out now not in five years time, when it might be forgot. No now is the time, not five years time, I’m not fooled or inpressed with Cameron’s idea.