Britain and the EU
David Cameron and Angela Merkel: people who can do business with each other
Nov 18th 2011, 18:40 by BagehotAS promised/threatened earlier, a quick update on the joint press conference in Berlin between David Cameron and Angela Merkel. According to wire reports from Berlin (Bagehot is in London today), the two leaders agreed to disagree on a financial transactions tax (sometimes generically referred to as a Tobin Tax, though technically that is something slightly different) and dodged the question of whether ECB intervention is the only way to reassure the markets.
One thing does jump out from the videos: in tone and mood this was not the showdown predicted by the British press or by the leading German tabloid, Bild, whose headline this morning asks: "Why are the English still in the EU?". Mrs Merkel addressed Bild's question in her remarks, saying:
Naturally there are differences. But Europe can only prevail if all the strong countries of the European continent are represented. And if we have a bit of tolerance for the different views, that we always have the strength in Europe to build such bridges even if there are different opinions on some issueThe chancellor gave no ground on the use of the ECB as a lender of last resort, saying:
The British demand that we use a large amount of firepower to win back credibility for the euro zone is right. But we have to take care that we don't pretend to have powers we don't have. Because the markets will figure out very quickly that this won't workBut Mrs Merkel did not hammer home reasons for the German position on the financial transactions tax in Europe, saying merely that she and Mr Cameron did not agree..
Comment: Where else but in the EU could Britain find a home?