British Prime Minister David Cameron sought to push forward his campaign for changes to the European Union during a visit to Germany Thursday, arguing that his proposals would benefit the EU as well as Britain.
Cameron was in the Alps for a meeting of the Bavaria-only sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservatives. He arrived Wednesday evening, when Merkel also was there.
Cameron has committed to holding a referendum on Britain’s EU membership by the end of 2017. Before that, he is seeking a new deal for Britain, most controversially including welfare limits for other EU nationals intended to control migration. He hopes to seal a deal at an EU summit next month and to hold the referendum later this year.
“The problems in the EU that we are trying to fix are problems for Germany and other European partners too,” Cameron wrote in an op-ed for the German daily Bild. The changes he wants “will benefit the EU too, and Germany can help deliver them,” he said.
Cameron added that Britain, like Germany, believes in the principle of free movement of workers — “but that should not mean the current freedom to claim all benefits from day one, and that’s why I’ve proposed restricting this for the first four years.”
Merkel called Wednesday for work toward “decisions that could lead, out of our own interest, to getting a sensible package so that Great Britain can remain part of the EU.”