James Forsyth

Cameron and Merkel: all smiles but no progress

Cameron and Merkel: all smiles but no progress
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David Cameron and Angela Merkel were clearly keen to show that, whatever the tensions over the role of the European Central Bank, they still get on. I lost count of the number of times in their press conference that they used the word 'good' to characterise their relationship and their discussions.

But there did not appear to have been any actual progress on how to deal with the current crisis. Certainly, there was no softening of Germany's opposition to using the ECB as the backstop for the Eurozone.

Merkel conceded that she had raised a European-only financial transactions tax with the Prime Minister but that, unsurprisingly, no progress had been made on this front. There was, though, an olive branch held out when the Chancellor stressed that 'the UK and Germany need each other' because the UK has been 'an engine force behind more competitiveness'. This was a reminder that the Germans are reluctant to totally throw their lot in with the dirigiste French.

Overall, though, Cameron will return from Berlin with a solution to the Eurozone crisis no closer. The drag anchor on the British economy remains in place.