During his first visit to Berlin, David Cameron has told German leader Angela Merkel the UK will not agree to hand any further powers to Brussels. (photo, from dailymail.co.uk)
After talks in the German capital, UK prime minister said there was “no question” of him backing any treaty giving the EU more powers to shore up the eurozone.
Amid efforts to contain Europe’s debt crisis, Mr Cameron said he would not be “drawn into” bolstering the euro.
However he stressed that he wanted to play a positive role in Europe. He also said that a strong eurozone was in the UK’s own interest.
On the second leg of his first European trip since becoming prime minister, Cameron said he wanted a “strong and positive partnership” with Germany.
Before meeting Merkel in Berlin, Cameron met French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday.
The trip is taking place against a backdrop of financial turmoil across Europe and calls for tighter regulation of markets in order to support the troubled euro (currency that the UK has ruled out joining).
Cameron said, during a press conference in Berlin, that the UK would not agree to the transfer of any sovereignty from Westminster to Brussels as part of any future reforms to EU institutions aimed at protecting the single currency area from economic stability.
‘Strong and stable eurozone’
Cameron acknowledged that such a treaty was “not likely to happen” in the foreseeable future.
Any such transfer of powers would have to be approved by the British people in a referendum, said the Conservative leader. He has also talked of repatriating EU powers in certain areas to the UK Parliament.
“I want Britain to be a positive player in Europe,” Mr Cameron told reporters.
“I want us to work together to achieve the economic stability, growth and action on European deficits we know is very much in the interest of all our countries and in the interests of a strong, stable economy which we very clearly need.
“Britain is not a member of the euro, nor are we likely to become a member, but we want a strong and stable eurozone. That is where 50% of our trade goes and it’s our interest that that takes place.”
However he insisted: “Britain would not be agreeing to any agreement or treaty that drew us further into supporting the euro area. It goes without saying that any treaty, even one that just applied to the euro area, needs unanimous agreement of all 27 EU states including the UK, which of course has a veto.”
In the meantim, European finance ministers, including UK Chancellor George Osborne, are meeting in Brussels in order to try and reassure the financial markets after the euro fell to a four-year low against the dollar and stock markets fell across Europe on continuing economic concerns.
On Friday, Germany’s lower house of parliament approved its contribution to a £651bn rescue deal for the eurozone, battered by Greece’s bailout and concerns about the debt situation in Portugal and Spain.
The new UK government has made cutting its own record peacetime deficit a priority and on Monday it will announce the details of £6bn of spending in initial cuts.
After meeting the new prime minister, Mrs Merkel said there was a “lot of common ground” between the two countries on key issues and she hoped for a “friendly relationship” between the two.
According to BBC’s Berlin correspondent Steve Rosenberg, while they agreed on some issues it was clear that there were real differences between the two countries over Europe and financial regulation.