Briefing Influence

  • Ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s historic visit to the UK, Open Europe produced the only detailed and comprehensive analysis of where the UK and Germany can strike a bargain on EU reform, how to make it happen, and which potential pitfalls to look out for.

Could Germany and Britain could be strong allies for EU Reform?

63% percent of German voters said that Germany and Britain could be strong allies in reforming the EU when polled in 2013 – while on 22% disagreed. 53% said that a Brexit would be very bad for Germany’s economic and political interests. An Anglo-German bargain on EU Reform is mandated by the German public.Source: YouGov Deutschland for Open Europe & Open Europe Berlin

25 February 2014

An Anglo-German bargain on EU reform is possible

If David Cameron’s EU reform strategy is to succeed, German support will be absolutely crucial. Ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s historic visit to London, Open Europe has laid out the areas of possible agreement and potential hurdles to a UK-German deal on EU reform.

The outline of an Anglo-German bargain on EU reform is emerging, with Angela Merkel’s CDU party expected to argue in its European election manifesto that it should be possible for EU powers to return to national governments, while Germany and the UK are already among the most vocal advocates of reforming rules on EU migrants’ access to state welfare.

Crucially, Germany’s desire to put further Eurozone integration on a sounder constitutional footing and enforce economic supervision on other Eurozone economies could also present David Cameron with his best chance of securing an EU Treaty change. Germany has also shown itself to be sympathetic to UK concerns about the Eurozone writing the rules for all member states. However, the presence of the SPD in Germany’s Grand Coalition has made matters more complicated, and potentially limits how far Chancellor Merkel is able to go.

Nonetheless, Open Europe holds a grand Anglo-German bargain on EU reform to be both necessary and possible.

Cameron needs to start laying some concrete policies on the table and road-testing them with leaders and electorates around Europe.

Raoul Ruparel, Head of Economic Research, Open Europe

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