David Cameron holds face-to-face talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on EU reform

The PM will try and convince the Chancellor on EU benefits changes

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Indy Politics

David Cameron is to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today as part of a ‘whistle-stop’ tour of European countries.

The prime minister, who will meet Ms Merkel face-to-face in Berlin, wants to secure agreement for reform of the European Union in line with Conservative manifesto commitments.

He wants other states to support the UK’s proposed restrictions to migration and benefit rules.

Mr Cameron will begin the day in Poland’s capital Warsaw to meet Ewa Kopacz, the country’s PM. He will later head to Berlin.

The PM faces a difficult task: Downing Street believes that its reforms would require the EU’s fundamental treaties to be rewritten, something other countries have previously ruled out.

France’s Europe Minister Harlem Désir said earlier this month that any attempt to change EU treaties would be “doomed to failure” and that change could only be accomplished within existing frameworks.

After a meeting with Mr Cameron yesterday the French president Francois Hollande said France wanted the UK to remain in the European Union.

“We think it's in the interest of Europe and in the interest of the United Kingdom to be together,” the president told journalists at a news conference.

He however added that the public’s view expressed in a referendum had to be respected.

Ms Merkel is under pressure from German business today not to negotiate with Mr Cameron.

Volker Treier, deputy chief executive of Germany’s chambers of commerce, told BBC News that bosses were “astonished” that the UK was planning a referendum at all.

France and Germany earlier this week agreed further integration for the eurozone area – without the reopening of the European Union treaties.