Britain may cause EU "disintegration" - senior German lawmaker

BERLIN Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:35am GMT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - A leading member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition accused Britain on Thursday of adopting an uncooperative attitude towards the European Union that could cause a "disintegration" of the bloc.

Rainer Bruederle, parliamentary leader of the Free Democrats (FDP) who share power with Merkel's conservatives, told German Radio he wanted Britain to stay in the EU but that he was getting increasingly frustrated with London.

"Our British friends ... constantly give us advice about what we in the euro zone should do but they don't join in themselves. They are not even prepared to agree to the rules for financial markets," Bruederle said.

"If things stay like this and the stance doesn't change - among British Conservatives but also in the Labour Party - you will see alarming developments of disintegration in Europe's structures," he added.

Under Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, Britain has been at odds with many of its EU partners on issues ranging from a fiscal stability pact to a financial transaction tax and, most recently, the EU budget.

While Germany agrees with Britain on the need to cut EU spending, it has grown increasingly exasperated by what it sees as Cameron's semi-detached stance, which it fears could lead to Britain sliding out of a bloc distrusted by British public opinion.

Last month, Merkel said she could not imagine a Europe without Britain and urged London to get more engaged. Cameron wants Britain to stay in the bloc but under renegotiated terms.

In the early hours of Thursday, other EU countries granted concessions to Britain to secure a deal giving the European Central Bank powers to supervise euro zone banks from 2014, a step towards further integration to help underpin the euro.

Britain, which does not use the euro, was worried that the ECB would undermine its autonomy in policing the City of London, Europe's top financial centre.

Merkel and Cameron will both attend a summit of EU leaders due to start on Thursday evening.

Bruederle said Britain seemed to want special treatment.

"They have a rebate for contributions to the European coffers yet they want to take full advantage of the single market," said Bruederle.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Gareth Jones and Kevin Liffey)

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Comments (3)
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Britain may cause EU “disintegration” – senior German lawmaker

Rubbish, Britain is just making sure that it gets the best possible deal for itself…

No business merger ever occurred without the directors doing their max for the shareholders and stakeholders in that sister company.

Dec 13, 2012 12:56pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
ritchard wrote:
The man has a sense of exaggeration. Disintegration would not be on the cards but if the UK leaves Europe it would no longer have the critical mass so important in developing political geography and the UK would become a league 3 player.
A bit of history is in the making it should also send a strong warning to the UK as it constitutes a slight shift away from the City of London.
2014 is not far away, Europe will certainly be strengthened by the crises it has traversed and the British Euro sceptics will not be witnessing the demise of the Euro.
How to maintain the importance of the City of London? It can’t be achieved simply by talking bullish.
Joining the Euro is the ultimate solution but the longer the decision is delayed the more will the cities influence dwindle.
A crucial moment in the time frame will be the moment the world economy moves out of recession.
The world does not wait for those locked in hesitation.

Dec 13, 2012 1:09pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
charlieboy wrote:
Mr Bruederle seems to forget that any form of co-operation must be based upon at leasy a level of fairness. Germany benefits from the EU perhaps more than anyone else as the Euro allows it to remain competitive – if it changed into DM then everything would be unaffordable. France receives enormous subsidies for its inefficient farming policies and Italy and Spain need the EU for bailouts. Even the Eastern European see it as a chance to receive huger infrastructure funds and farming subsidies. So how does that balance out for the UK – well it appears to be that the UK can take full advantage of the single market – but then so can Norway and most countries under the World Trade Agreements. So lets hope Merkel and Bruederle can see why the UK wants to rebalance such a bureaucratic organisation.

Dec 13, 2012 1:23pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
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