Angela Merkel will get red carpet as David Cameron seeks EU allies

Merkel will be given the rare honour of addressing both houses of Parliament – the first German leader to do so for 27 years – and will have an audience with the Queen

Deputy Political Editor

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, will receive the red carpet treatment during a visit to London next week as David Cameron seeks her support over renegotiating Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Ms Merkel will be given the rare honour addressing both houses of Parliament – the first German leader to do so for 27 years – and will have an audience with the Queen.

Mr Cameron, who will also hold talks with her in Downing Street, is keen to win her backing for his reform plans because of Germany’s dominant influence within the 28-member bloc.

Mr Cameron met the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whom he regards as another potential ally over reshaping the EU, at Chequers, his country house residence.

The Prime Minister has announced plans to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and put it to a referendum by the end of the 2107 if the Conservatives win the next general election.

During a chilly encounter last month, the French President François Hollande told Mr Cameron that rewriting the treaties that underpin the EU was not a priority for his country.

But Mr Cameron will hope for a much more sympathetic hearing from Ms Merkel, with whom he has a warm personal relationship.

British officials believe there is emerging common ground between London and Berlin over the need for EU reform, particularly over limiting freedom of movement between member states.

The two leaders will also discuss whom they would support as the successor to Jose Manuel Barroso as the European Commission president.

Britain believes the Dutch would also be sympathetic to a drive to ensure as much sovereignty as possible remains with national governments rather Brussels. Mr Rutte’s government last year said its approach was based on the principle of “European where necessary, national where possible”.

As Mr Cameron stepped up his efforts to win foreign sympathisers for his EU vision, he found himself under domestic pressure to debate it with British political leaders.

It came as Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, accepted a challenge from Nick Clegg to a live debate over Britain’s membership of the EU.

The Liberal Democrat leader had called for the clash to take place ahead of the European Parliamentary elections in May. Several broadcasters are understood to have already expressed their interest in hosting the confrontation.

Mr Farage urged Mr Cameron and Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, to join them in the studio.

But a spokesman for the Prime Minister said he was focusing on the economy, the crisis in Ukraine and the aftermath of the flooding emergency. He said: “Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg have agreed to have a debate with each other. Let them get on with that.”

A senior Labour source said its priority was to arrange a pre-election debate between Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband as they were the “two potential Prime Ministers of the country”. He added: “After that is agreed, anything else will be a matter for negotiation.”

Mr Clegg had issued the challenge in an appearance on his LBC 97.3 radio phone-in programme. He called Mr Farage to “a public, open debate about whether we should be in or out of the European Union”.

The Ukip leader responded yesterday: “I have absolutely no choice. I’ve got to say ‘yes’ because we need to have a national debate on what I think is the most important issue this country has faced.

“The answer is yes, I will do it with Nick Clegg, but the other two, I’d like to see them there as well.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Relationship Assistant / Business Support

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you willing to give fantastic Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Assistant Document Controller

£11000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Greenwich based firm of Archite...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum