UK

David Cameron's 'Sleepover' With Angela Merkel Before EU Talks

12/04/2013 20:00 BST | Updated 12/04/2013 20:11 BST

David Cameron was on Friday night holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the future shape of the European Union, bringing his wife and children to a sleepover at her official country residence.

The Prime Minister arrived with his wife Samantha and their children Arthur, Nancy and Florence at Merkel's official country residence at Schloss Meseberg in Brandenberg, after a highly unusual invitation for the whole family to stay.

The visit was described as a sign of the strong working relationship between the two leaders, despite their differences over the EU.

Merkel has made no secret of her concerns about Cameron's plans to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU, and before staging a referendum on Britain's continuing membership.

However Michael Meister, deputy parliamentary chairman of her Christian Democratic Union party, today indicated that Germany was "open for arguments" about moving some powers back into the hands of member states.

"I think there are a lot of common ideas with the British side and the German side on it," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"It's a good thing that we have an idea of a private competitive economy and that's much different from other countries in Europe."

"I think we are open for arguments why it makes sense and follows the principle of subsidiarity to move something back (to member state control)."

Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said: “Despite Chancellor Merkel's desire for the UK to remain in Europe, trapped by his rhetoric and his backbenchers, David Cameron still risks sleep-walking Britain towards exit.

"The gap between what David Cameron can deliver and what his backbenchers are demanding continues to widen.”