'Selfish', 'sick' and 'too sensitive': media's warm welcome for a European visitor

German View

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"Selfish" and "just looking for their own advantage": that was the German verdict on David Cameron and the British as the Prime Minister arrived in Berlin yesterday for meetings with his counterpart, Angela Merkel.

German politicians and media commentators piled in with criticism of Britain. The mass circulation newspaper Bild published a banner headline demanding, "What do the British want in Europe ?" and asking whether it might not be better for "the island" to leave the EU. "British industry is doing badly: recession, unemployment and a near 9 per cent budget deficit," the paper wrote. "Cameron is under massive pressure. By contrast, Chancellor Merkel enjoys great respect abroad because she is pulling all the strings on Europe."

The war of words erupted on Tuesday after Volker Kauder, Ms Merkel's parliamentary party leader, lambasted Britain for being self-centred on Europe: "Just looking for their own advantage and not being prepared to contribute; that cannot be the message we accept from the British."

His remarks provoked angry criticism in London. Mr Kauder brushed it off, saying: "The British should not be so sensitive. Changes in Europe are sometimes necessary."

Cool reception: The German press


Germany's top-selling newspaper responded to Eurosceptic British press with the question: "What is England still doing in the EU?" "The British are trembling because of German plans for the EU," the paper added

Der Spiegel

The magazine ran on its website yesterday the headline: "Das Kranke Empire" or "The Sick Empire"

Die Welt

The newspaper ran the headline: "British furious about German dominance in Europe"