German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her confidence that Britain will opt to stay in the European Union (EU), and called for “seriously and conscientiously” considering its wishes regarding the European Council, Efe news agency reported.
In an appearance in the Bundestag or the lower house of the German parliament, ahead of the European Council meeting next week, Merkel said that Britain was a “natural ally” in Europe and its development.
Britain shall first decide what role it wanted to play in Europe, she posited, but made clear that the issue must be discussed with all European partners.
EU heads of state and government are expected to ask European Council President Donald Tusk to initiate the studying of the British proposals and, when the time comes, Merkel said that she would “seriously and thoroughly address the wishes of the United Kingdom”.
As she told British Prime Minister David Cameron when he visited Berlin last month, Merkel again said before the Bundestag that the fundamental principles of European integration such as freedom of movement and non-discrimination are excluded from any debate.
Merkel said that it was not the first time a state “sees the need to clarify their role in the EU” and referred to the cases of Denmark in 2002 and Ireland in 2008.
She added that when looking at the history of European integration, in the end a solution has always been reached.