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Merkel: UK still important in EU.

Byline: ANDREW WOODCOCK

PM: 'No apology for standing up for Britain' SUGGESTIONS that David Cameron has left Britain isolated in Europe by deploying his veto were downplayed yesterday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who insisted the UK will continue to play an important role in the EU.

Mr Cameron told the House of Commons he would "make no apology for standing up for Britain" by blocking treaty changes to shore up the eurozone, forcing the other EU members to strike their own "fiscal compact" outside the official treaty framework.

But he was accused of making a "catastrophic mistake" by Labour leader Ed Miliband, who urged him to re-enter negotiations with the other 26 EU states to try to get a better deal for Britain.

The clash came in the final session of Prime Minister's Questions before Christmas, at which Mr Cameron was flanked by his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg, who has described the failure to get a deal at last week's European Council summit as "bad for Britain".

After staying away from the chamber on Monday for Mr Cameron's statement on the Brussels summit and joining his MPs in a mass abstention on a motion congratulating the PM, Mr Clegg was greeted with mocking cheers from Labour MPs as he took his seat.

Mr Miliband said Mr Cameron had promised the coalition would operate in a "collegiate" way, and asked: "What's gone wrong?" But Mr Cameron - buoyed by a notable boost in the polls since the dramatic events of Friday morning - retorted: "No one in this House is going to be surprised that Conservatives and Liberal Democrats don't always agree about Europe.

"I make no apology for standing up for Britain."

In Berlin, Mrs Merkel sought to mend fences with London by saying it was "beyond doubt for me Great Britain will in future continue to be an important partner in the EU".

She indicated she has not given up hope of eventual UK involvement in the new compact.

But Downing Street said its position had not changed: Britain would only sign if it obtained safeguards for the City of London which were roundly rejected last week.

Mrs Merkel also risked alarming British eurosceptics by saying that, as a result of last Friday's agreement, "the vision of a genuine political union is beginning to take shape".

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday sought to mend fences with London
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2011
Words:400
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