UK’s EU renegotiations not Germany’s priority

Former German foreign minister warns Britain’s prime minister over Germany’s priorities

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer has warned British prime minister David Cameron not to be too hopeful and confident in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stance towards EU reform, as it is not her priority.

Fischer’s comments came a week after Cameron completed his “whistle-stop tour” in Europe, seeking support from leaders of European Union countries to make changes in EU laws especially with regard to welfare payments to EU migrants in Britain.

However, speaking to BBC, Fischer had a word of advice for Cameron and said: “Don’t lose yourself in wishful thinking.”

He also said that “Angela Merkel will do nothing which will endanger the basic principles of the common market of the EU.”

“And she has a much bigger problem to address-how to find a compromise in the currency union with Greece. That’s her number one now.”

David Cameron had promised the British people a “simple referendum of in or out” of the EU immediately after the election. The legislation is ready but the anticipated referendum date is 2017.

Cameron also wants a few changes over the conditions of migrant workers, such as demanding a “four-year qualification period” before they can receive any benefits, and to deport EU jobseekers after six months if they cannot find work.

During Merkel’s and Cameron’s joint press conference on May 29, in Germany, the German Chancellor stressed that Berlin wants Britain to stay in the EU and said that some of Cameron’s proposals may be considered adding that, “Where there is a will there is a way.”

However, according to BBC Fischer stated that the UK is being unrealistic to think it will receive what it wants due to thinking that it makes a great contribution to the EU budget.

“What will the UK be without the EU? Go to Washington, ask them. The answer is very clear, very negative,” said Fischer.

TRTWorld and agencies