Germany's Merkel says wants a strong UK inside the EU

LONDON Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:00am EST

LONDON Feb 27 (Reuters) - Germany wants a strong United Kingdom with a strong voice inside the European Union to help bring about the reforms needed to strengthen the 28-member bloc, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

After a short introduction in English, Merkel switched to German to tell lawmakers from both houses of the British parliament that Britain was an important ally that could help build a strong and competitive European Union.

"United and determined we can serve as a model for other regions of the world. This and nothing less than this, should be our common goal, I regard it as the task of for our generation," she said through a translator.

"In order to attain this goal, we need a strong United Kingdom with a strong voice inside the European Union. If we have that we will be able to make the necessary changes for the benefit of all."

Merkel said a Europe without borders was a great achievement but added that Europe should muster the courage to speak out against abuses and tackle problems.