15 Dec 2011

Merkel says UK still key EU member

8:29 am on 15 December 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told MPs that Britain will remain a strong European Union partner, despite its decision not to agree to an EU summit deal.

She told the Bundestag (parliament) she very much regretted the decision by British Prime Minister David Cameron not to back new fiscal rules.

In Brussels last Friday, 26 of the 27 members of the European Union backed new fiscal rules, with only Britain abstaining.

Britain says the deal fails to provide safeguards for London's financial centre.

The deal was prompted by debt crises in several eurozone countries, and is intended to tighten rules to prevent member states running up further debts in future.

Germany says the only way to do this is to write budget prudence into the constitution of each member country.

Mrs Merkel said a stronger and more stable Europe would emerge from the crisis.

But the BBC reports there are fears that a budget pact will still not be enough to prevent more countries from seeking a bailout.