Dr Hans-Gert Pöttering: Europe needs Great Britain - Foundation Office United Kingdom and Ireland
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Dr Pöttering said that Great Britain is an important partner for the European Union, and in particular, for Germany, and, due to its history and tradition of parliamentary democracy, is of great significance for the European Union.
Dr Pöttering remains skeptical of the changes to the Lisbon Treaty proposed by Prime Minister David Cameron, and suggested that there were other ways to accommodate the British government's considerations. For example, a working group, established by the European Commission, examining how British ideas can be incorporated into European law. An "inter-institutional agreement" between the European Council, European Commission and European Parliament, could pave the way for this. However, he said that any changes to the treaty would be too complicated and time consuming, as shown by the original negotiations around the Lisbon Treaty, in which Dr Pöttering played an essential part.
During his visit to London, Dr Hans-Gert Pöttering held discussions with David Lidington, Minister of State for Europe, Sir John Major, former Prime Minister and Kenneth Clarke, long-serving Conservative MP and former cabinet member. Dr Pöttering also had a particularly cordial meeting with Lord Charles Henry Plumb, one of his predecessors as President of the European Parliament. He is soon to celebrate his 90th Birthday.