Germany says the principle of free movement of workers within the European Union bloc is “not negotiable.”
Speaking to reporters in Berlin on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Germany wants Britain to play an active role in the EU, but will not support British Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to curb immigration from other EU member countries.
"The valuable asset of freedom of movement within the European Union is for Germany not negotiable. That's what the Chancellor [Angela Merkel] said. She also said that there is a strong interest in sharing the fight against possible abuse," said Seibert.
Cameron is under growing political pressure from the UKIP party (United Kingdom Independence Party), an anti-EU right-wing populist political group, to limit the flow of migration from EU members into Britain.
Germany says it does not see this as a bilateral matter between the two countries, but between Britain and its European partners.
Seibert reacted to a report by German weekly Der Spiegel that Chancellor Merkel had warned Cameron that insisting on immigration limits could increase the risk of Britain departing from the European Union.
Under EU rules, citizens of most European Union member countries have the right to live and work in any other member state.
Material for this report came from AP, AFP, and Reuters.