Cameron & Merkel to hold talks on UK EU membership, refugee crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. © Michaela Rehle
Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to meet with his German counterpart Chancellor Angela Merkel this week to discuss the future of Britain’s relationship with the rest of the EU, and strategies for tackling the ongoing refugee crisis.

The meeting comes as Cameron prepares to outline the details of a deal to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership at a European council meeting in December.

The terms are likely to include increased powers for national parliaments, heightened restrictions on benefits for migrants, and an opt-out clause from the EU’s founding principle of an ‘ever-closer union’. Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership by the end of 2017.

“If I don’t get what I want, then I rule nothing out,” Cameron told BBC1 on Sunday when asked about the possibility of terminating Britain’s membership in the bloc. “But I am confident we will get what we need.”

Led by Cameron, the ‘yes’ campaign to remain in the EU is set to launch this week.

Chancellor George Osborne told BBC Radio 4 on Monday: “It is going to be a tough negotiation but we have made a good start.

“The migrant crisis is quite a good example of how Britain has been able to carve a different role for itself. We are not part of the Schengen arrangement, so we are not part of the quota system where other EU countries have to accept quotas, and we can run our own system, which is much more compassionate, so we go to the camps in Jordan and help people there.

“Whether it is the euro crisis, or the migrant crisis, it has been shown that Britain can have this role in Europe, where we are in Europe but not run by Europe. We need to make changes to secure that, but I am confident we can make those changes.”

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The number of refugees expected to arrive in Germany by the end of the year is estimated at 1.5 million, Bild reported on Sunday citing a government report. Germany has repeatedly called on other EU members to pull their weight and increase efforts to take in migrants. The UK has meanwhile opted out of a Schengen-wide quota system for distributing the influx of asylum seekers.

Britain has pledged to take in 20,000 people over the next five years.

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