Entry 23

Britain flatters Germany to pave the way for EU reform talks

The UK’s finance minister flattered his German counterpart on his visit to Berlin on November 1. He did so as he gave the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, an advance, detailed account of what Britain wants a reformed EU to become.

George Osbourne described the UK and German economies as “the beating heart of Europe” and “the engine for growth and jobs”. “Together we make the world’s third-largest economy, behind only America and China and, since the [credit] crisis ended, we have generated two-thirds of EU growth,” he said.

He told a conference of German business leaders that he wanted a modern EU fit ‘. . . for today’s challenges and working for the benefit of all 28 member states. The UK’s reform and renegotiation plans aim to achieve this . . .”

His audiences knew that the flattery was timely as the UK revealed a week later (Nov 9) what changes Britain wants the 27 other member states to concede.

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