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April 23, 2014

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Merkel: We need strong UK in strong Europe

Updated Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 | 5:03 a.m.

LONDON (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has wooed a welcoming but skeptical audience of British lawmakers with a call for a strong, unified Europe with Britain at its heart.

Merkel addressed Britain's Parliament Thursday during a visit full of ceremonial honor as well as political purpose.

Prime Minister David Cameron, under pressure from Euroskeptics inside and outside his Conservative Party, has promised a referendum on whether to leave or stay in the EU if he wins the next election.

Merkel backed the idea of closer economic coordination and less bureaucracy, but gave Cameron few concessions, stressing the importance of the EU's principles of free trade, free movement and "a Europe without borders."

She said: "We need a strong United Kingdom with a strong voice inside the European Union."