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Merkel: German 'National Interest' for Britain to Remain in EU

  • VOA News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Feb. 17, 2016.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Feb. 17, 2016.

Germany's chancellor says it is in her country's national interest for Britain to remain in the European Union.

Angela Merkel told German lawmakers Wednesday that many of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposals for EU reforms are "justified and necessary."

"Because Cameron's demands are far from being demands that are just for Britain. In some cases we must say, quite the opposite. Many issues are issues that are justified and necessary," she said.

Seeking an agreement

An EU summit Thursday and Friday in Brussels will discuss British proposals and the bloc’s counterproposals in order to reach an agreement to keep Britain in the 28-nation union.

Merkel spoke with a positive tone for a potential agreement to satisfy both.

"It must be our goal to prevent discrimination but encourage distinction at the same time. And that is not in contradiction with the fact that the European Monetary and Economic Union will of course continue to make their own necessary decisions," she said.

Other senior European Union leaders expressed their commitment Tuesday to help Britain remain in the bloc.

Referendum on membership

Cameron's Conservative Party has pledged to hold a national referendum by the end of 2017 on continued membership in the European Union.

Cameron's proposals include building competitiveness into EU practices; making sure that non-euro countries, including Britain, are not discriminated against, clarifying that Britain is not formally obligated to work toward closer union with its European partners; and instituting curbs on migration and benefits.

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