21 Nov 2012

CDU source: Cameron wants Germany to blast UK out of Europe

David Cameron is like one of these “suicide by cop” people, a senior figure in the CDU told me. For the uninitiated, he was referring to people who behave erratically and threateningly with the intention of getting the police to shoot them. My contact felt David Cameron was waving his gun around and shouting anti-European abuse in the hope that the Germans, as senior cops of the EU, would pull the trigger and obligingly blast him out of Europe. We won’t oblige, was the message from this CDU figure; David Cameron needs to sort out for himself whether he wants to stay in or leave Europe.

In Berlin, you pick up a developing anger and frustration with the UK. Bundestag members I spoke to complain of British “cherry-picking,” Britain wanting to be a “tax haven” and being “too individualistic and self- interested” in negotiations to the exclusion of all else. Unless things change, they warn, David Cameron can expect to know what Angela Merkel’s cold shoulder feels like (he has some experience, she refused contact for a while after David Cameron took the Conservatives out of the EPP grouping in Europe that included her CDU party).

In Berlin, you hear again and again people saying that the UK veto at last December’s EU summit has made the German government look at Britain differently. The veto was regarded as reckless self-indulgence by many here when the Eurozone was trying to put out a fire. It’s been compounded in German eyes by Britain’s behaviour since. The EU Budget summit starting on Thursday could yet see a deal – EU sources are encouraged that David Cameron has never put a specific number on what represents a real terms freeze in his eyes (“there are at least 20 ways to fudge those numbers,” one EU source said). But if Britain were to veto agreement at that summit relations could plummet rapidly.

Is London panicked by all this? There’s a view you hear amongst senior figures on the EU case that thinks Angela Merkel may yet allow some repatriation of powers, wouldn’t want Britain to leave and isn’t the pure EU integrationist she sometimes appears as.

To get some feel for who might be right and where Angela Merkel sits, I’ve been to her childhood home in the old East Germany – you can watch the report below.

She learnt not to share her thoughts in the old GDR police state, growing up near to the largest Soviet airstrip in Europe. That makes even those with claims to be close to her unsure of exactly what she thinks. It makes it even harder for other countries negotiating at the EU.

She’s methodical, very much the scientist she became in the East. She travels ideologically light – too light for some more passionate Europhiles. She appears (London has noted this) to have taken a step back on Eurozone banks in October having given the appearance of taking a step forward on Eurozone banks in June.

Angela Merkel is certainly something of an accidental integrationist – like many Easterners, more Atlanticist in outlook than those with their origins in the old West Germany, more sceptical of big ideological projects. When she began this current administration, the Berlin foreign policy punditry gathered to analyse her Europe policy only to discover there wasn’t one.

She’s had to create all sorts of mechanisms since then to deal with the economic equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis. Where exactly she will take European integration remains blurry. But rather like the zig-zag of a First World War German trench, the line does seem to move in a certain direction. And the urgency of whatever she’s doing at any particular market-pressured point, means she doesn’t appreciate distractions or obstacles.

Chancellor Merkel has just told the Bundestag she doesn’t know if there will be deal this week in Brussels on the budget or whether everyone has to come back to talk again early next year.

British sources acknowledge that Angela Merkel is “reassessing Britain” at the moment. The UK delegation will travel to Brussels knowing that every delay, every annoyance plays into that reassessment.

Follow Gary’s blogs on Twitter via @GaryGibbonBlog


Tweets by @garygibbonblog

23 reader comments

  1. Fred Gell says:

    I find it amazing the way the total denial of any democratic mandate is considered a realistic way of going forward – perhaps the East German bankground is more important than it might appear?

    Germany should listen to the people, not David Cameron – and it’s pretty clear at the moment that out, rather than in, is the balance of opinion.

    That the EU likes to run democracy on the basis of only one choice is acceptable and you will keep voting until that is the answer is not a proper mandate.

    Nor is the imposition, by fair means or foul, of meek and technocratic satraps.
    Are they going to try and do that in the UK?

    Germany appears to blame the UK for many of it’s own faults in connection with our approach to solving EU issues and its about time somebody said stop.

  2. John Maloney says:

    As a Bilderberger, David Cameron is committed to a federal Europe followed by a one world government. He has two problems ; 1. Eurosceptics in his own party. 2. The vast majority of the public have seen through the EU charade, and want out. What is he to do?
    The EU is doomed. It is just that politicians of all creeds won’t admit it. The move back to sovereign states is the best option.

  3. Philip Edwards says:


    To use the Head Prefect’s public school lingo – Cameron’s acting out of funk. Though probably he and his ilk think they’re being politically clever.

    He’s caught between the neocon nutters in his own party and the requirements of a capitalist European Union. Guess who would win in a straight trial of strength – it wouldn’t be the crackpot “Home” Counties Little Englander crew. So Cameron seeks, in an emergency, to say, “It wasn’t me, guv,” if we Brits get turfed out – knowing full well the EU will do no such thing, but will probably let us rot on the periphery. The Tories are well acquainted with the method by now: it’s called the salami method…..just too ironic for words that it could be used to slice up the Tories.

    Your averagely intelligent sixth former could tell you the EU is what it was always mostly intended to be, a bankers’ cartel. Which is why the worst hit countries are now openly employing “technocrats” (read: bankers) as their political leaders. How else can they ensure control during “austerity”?

    So, no….Cameron is engaged in nothing more than a ritual dance brandishing mirrors and generating smoke. He already knows how it…

  4. Philip Edwards says:

    ….will end.

    Meanwhile, no “European Spring,” Gary? Now why would that be?

  5. James Moore says:

    good to hear Germany has a far more level headed in charge then this pratt of a PM we have!

  6. lawrence f wilcock says:

    As a product of WW2 i have always kept a political eye on Germany and France. Germany is a very bad looser, and is still fighting to control western Europe, this time without firing a shot, they actually think it is their right to be “TopDog”, They will destroy each EU country bit by bit untill they reach thier goal,—If we let them, Greece is now at their mercy and others will follow,
    I have met many Germans over the years, and I am always astounded by their extreeme arrogance, the sooner we are out of the EU the better, we can an always have survived in the face of many adversaries.
    France?—they will tag on behind Germany.

    1. Clive Taylor-Sholl says:

      Well said, I agree with your comments 100% as most people with an IQ bigger than their shoe size would. It is the most undemocratic, unrepresentative charade lead by unelected greedy, corrupt and fraudulent dictatorship.i

  7. Philip says:

    Our media obsession with the failings of the EU (which largely rest on a desire by the right wing press, led by the Murdoch stable) has created – often through misleading stories and a vast amount of anti-EU spin – a climate where people in the UK (well, England certainly) appear to want to leave the EU. Exactly what the effects of that are likely to be hasn’t been honestly assessed & if any assessment came out that leaving the EU would be bad for the UK, you could guarantee that much of the media would ignore/rubbish/or attempt to suppress it. Unlike Blair (for all his faults & mistakes), Cameron is a political coward and his grovelling to Murdoch & his right wingers (& fear of taking on the delusional UKIP on) has now not just isolated the UK in the EU, but annoyed many countries, a fair of whom could reasonably be our allies. On the EU we look remarkably like the Tea Party in the US – fanatical & delusional.

  8. Mudplugger says:

    Whether Cameron manages it using ‘suicide by cop’ or Miliband learns sense, or Farage eventually leads the way, the method is unimportant.
    The key objective for Britain’s future must be to get out of that corrupt and corrupting EU cabal by whatever means and as quickly as possible.

    Any politician guaranteeing that will get my vote, regardless of their other policies, because that’s the only policy that matters, everything else can then flow after that in a free and independent democracy. It’s called priorities.

  9. Jon Tilley says:

    Well boo hoo, the Germans aren’t happy. Well the truth is that Germany is the country that is isolated. The UK is flat lining, but we seem to be surviving and with a slight prospect of turning things around to start the slow process of recovery. US housing market and the wider economy, would seem to suggest that the factors that take years to start and then years to turn around are doing just that, turning. Germany wants support from the countries who have got a chance of success in the medium term to help support the countries that have no chance in the medium or probably long term future. Fortunately we did not join the Euro, and as such we are free to run our own affairs, we do not need Germany’s good wishes. We buy more German goods than probably any other country in Europe, so I don’t think they will want to be too bad tempered with us. The conclusion is that Greece should be cut lose, supported to leave the Euro, cancellation of debts and support through a hard transition stage, otherwise German will have a financial anchor around its neck for a generation. Then we can have good relations with Germany because they will not be knocking on the door to ask for help…

  10. fed up says:

    Bundestag members I spoke to complain of British “cherry-picking,” Britain wanting to be a “tax haven” and being “too individualistic and self- interested” in negotiations to the exclusion of all else.

    The source may be correct on some aspects that are quoted but in my opinion it applies to some people incited by parts of the press and aspects of current political thinking, but please do not assume everyone is like this !

  11. Clive Taylor-Sholl says:

    I for one would be delighted to leave the EU as it is one of the most undemocratic, unrepresentative political dictatorships in the world, run by unelected corrupt, and fraudulent bureaucrats. Good riddance to the EU and let us return to being England.

  12. Allan D says:

    I think the Germans “blasted Britain out of Europe” once before at Dunkirk in 1940, if I recall correctly. They still came unstuck then and will undoubtedly as the latest version of “the Thousand Year Reich” crumbles due to German intransigence and overweening arrogance. Churchill was right: “The German is either at your throat or at your feet.”

  13. Matt says:

    The flaw in this theory is that Germany doesn’t have the power to kick the UK out of the EU.

  14. Ron Bristow says:

    It is intesesting to know that Angela Merkel is “reassessing Britain” at the moment. I wonder if she and the German Government will allow us to stay in their European Union?

    Rather than allowing the interviewees to remain unchallenged in their veiw that it is for Angela Merkel to decide what happens in Europe that, may be, just may be, other countries including Britain might want to have a say on the odd occasion.

    It does seem to very weak jounalism on the part of C4 News to kowtow to the German viewpoint without trying to explain that on the question of increased funding to the EU David Cameron might be right.

  15. Roy says:

    Reassessing? Good, perhaps she will think we cant be kicked around
    Kicked out? They cant afford the cost we contribute too much.

  16. anon says:

    The individuality of a sovereign Britain has served her well in overcoming many different conflicts over the centuries. Our laws and perspectives are often slightly different to those of many in mainland Europe. To presume that Europe must be a melting pot of all member states into a homogoneous whole is not recognising the reality of the situation.

    Why should there not be looser ties in areas where the individual laws of a sovereign state are in conflict , the prisoner vote issue is an example.

    It seems to me that there are many instances where small differences are overlooked by many member states. France recently sent back terrorists while Britain followed the letter of the law. Is there an issue with this ? I do not think so. Is France being fined? Why not? .This is not the only example..

    Old issues die hard, Britain has centuries of differences with parts of Europe. Hopefully the antagonism is all behind us but inevitably and thankfully there will be differences.
    Individual differences are an inevitable and valuable part of the whole. I just hope that Europe does not want to squash the heritage that is an integral part of Britain. Why not embrace the…

  17. Ron Bristow says:

    There is only one way to decide on the matter on our membership of the EU and that is to hold a referendum.
    I for one would like to see Britain come out of the EU but if a referedum went against my viewpoint I would be happy to support the decision of the British people.
    As a nation we must stop bickering and decide on where we want to go!

  18. James Matthews says:

    Looks as though, after a period of uncharacteristic reticence, German arrogance is back. Good to see them being true to themselves again. First we had Merkel’s gnomic threat that Britain would not like it outside the EU and now this. Germans assuming that they have a unilateral right to remove other countries from the EU and that anyone who does not share their views must be irrational. With any luck it will eventual put some backbone into Britains leadership, even Camerons.

  19. Dave says:

    We really don’t need Angela’s good opinion or bad. She’s simply not our boss. While the rest of the EU (or most) have to fall at her feet when the going gets tough, the Brits don’t need to and won’t and it is that fact that causes so much irritation in Germany. Sadly unlike Europe, the UK is a democracy, so we will decide where we go from here and if the Germans are upset about it, it’s a problem for them, not us.In the meantime let them look at us how they will.

  20. Aussie says:

    Angel Merkel is reassessing UK’s position in the EU? Since when did she become the uncrowned Queen of Europe? That attitude marks everything that is wrong with the European Union – arrogance and the presumption of superiority.

    Personally, I believe the UK is much better off outside the corrupt establishment; there are far more markets outside than there is inside, and here in the real world Europe is considered a basket case.

    Then you can really get on with that federal project, starting with a parliament for England.

  21. anon says:

    How many laws that need to be changed are going to be blocked by the European court? The world is a changing place and laws need to be passed to meet the new and often volatile circumstances. As the seemingly unpreventable if not always wanted immigration increases Britain is facing many new challenges. The disproportionate number of Pakistani gangs reported yesterday is one example. This is not the only area of concern. Murders ,rape and violence seem to have become part of society, yet violators are often offered a route out through Europe.
    Preventative measures are expensive but we are spending millions on compensation to those who have inflicted the suffering. We need to be directing our funds for the prevention of crime not compensating the perpetrators..

  22. M A Owen says:

    Yes of course there is anger in Germany over the possibility that the UK might not join in but consider leaving instead. If the UK leaves taking its Net financial input and its honest regulation with it where will that leave Germany? Well it will leave it as the only honest paymaster, and as one of the few honest hardworking regulators in the EU. And how will Germany survive that, badly I think. Especially since it will not only have Southern Europe but also France firmly clinging to its coat tails, a France moreover where economics is all smoke and mirrors and where EU regulation is a non-optional extra [and yes I have seen that with my own eyes more than once]. Pity the poor hardworking German nation.
    Of course Germany is angry, most anger as we should remember has its origins in fear and they without us have a lot to fear. I am surprised at Channel 4 News giving it credence however, you are so much better than that. Surely you are not doing a BBC-pat-the-masses-on-the-head-they-wouldn’t-understand-it! broadcast. Come off it guys you can do better than that.

Comments are closed.