Cameron courts CSU in Bavaria with call for EU welfare limits | News | DW | 07.01.2016
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Cameron courts CSU in Bavaria with call for EU welfare limits

British Prime Minister Cameron is a guest at a meeting of CSU leadership in Bavaria. He is using the trip - and a guest editorial in Germany's most popular newspaper - to drum up support for his EU reforms.

David Cameron chose one of Germany's most prominent platforms, the widely-read "Bild" newspaper, to drum up support for his proposals on what needs to be changed in the European Union to prevent the United Kingdom from leaving the bloc.

The publication of a guest editorial in the top-selling tabloid-style publication coincides with Cameron's visit to a meeting of Christian Social Union (CSU) leaders in the Bavarian town of Wildbad Kreuth. The CSU is the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

Making his case

Cameron is planning on a referendum by 2017 that would ask Britons if they wanted to continue to be a part of the EU. In the "Bild" article, Cameron outlined ways that remaining in the bloc could be made more appealing to British citizens - changes he said would be beneficial to Germany and the rest the EU as well.

He called for an end to "excessive bureaucracy and trade hurdles" that inhibited growth in all European countries. Another key point is a four-year waiting period on receiving social benefits for EU citizens who move within the EU from their native country.

Germany, like the UK, is for the free movement of workers in the EU, Cameron said, but "that doesn't mean, as it does now, that someone should be entitled to all social benefits from day one."

CSU party leader Horst Seehofer said Cameron's take on restricting welfare was "pure CSU" after the two met Wednesday evening. The CSU's policies are similar to those of Cameron's Conservatives.

Cameron 'encouraged'

In a statement to reporters given with the CSU's parliamentary leader Gerda Hasselfeldt (pictured above) on Thursday, Cameron said he was "encouraged by the goodwill" he felt from the CSU.

Hasselfeldt said Cameron's push for EU reforms had "invigorated the discussion about the future of Europe" and that her party was "making every effort to hold this discussion in Germany." She added it was in the CSU's interests to see Britain remain an "important partner in a strong European Union."

Upon his arrival in Bavaria on Wednesday, Cameron met with Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to the CSU meeting. Merkel said Germany should pursue "decisions that could lead, out of our own interest, to getting a sensible package so that Britain can remain part of the EU."

Cameron is scheduled to travel to Budapest later on Thursday for a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

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