Cameron and Merkel meet with EU on the menu

Cameron and Merkel discuss matters during a walk at Chequers, the British Prime Minister's official country residence.
Cameron and Merkel discuss matters during a walk at Chequers, the British Prime Minister's official country residence.REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to his country residence to discuss Britain's future in the European Union, amongst other topics.

Cameron, celebrating his 49th birthday, posted a picture of himself walking with Merkel in the grounds of Chequers, the prime minister's countryside residence in Buckinghamshire, southern England, where he often holds informal meetings with fellow leaders.

"I'm delighted to welcome Angela Merkel to Chequers," he wrote. "We're discussing counter-terrorism, Syria and the EU."

Cameron has promised an in-or-out referendum on Britain's EU membership by the end of 2017, and has been meeting with European leaders in order to try and secure reforms in the 28-country bloc ahead of the plebiscite.

He intends to campaign to stay in a reformed EU, but warned he could not "guarantee" success in his efforts to renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership.

"If I can't get the things that Britain needs, then I don't rule anything out in terms of the role that I would play because we do need these changes," he said earlier this week.

Merkel has called for Britain to stay in the union, but is expected to demand that Cameron spell out his position.

Europe's refugee crisis is also likely to crop up, with Merkel under growing domestic pressure over her open-door policy.

As part of his diplomatic drive, Cameron met earlier Friday with Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas.