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Germany's Schaeuble says optimistic about EU reform deal with Britain

An employee at the European Commission adjusts a British flag ahead of the meeting between British Prime Minister David Cameron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels, October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Friday he believed European powers could reach a deal with Britain on its demands for reforms to the European Union, with terms that would still allow for deeper integration of euro zone members.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who opposes any further transfer of sovereignty to the EU, wants to renegotiate relations with the bloc it joined in 1973 ahead of a referendum, due before the end of 2017, on whether to stay a member.

Britain, which is not a member of the euro zone, has still not spelled out its specific demands for changes to the bloc.

But Schaeuble, who met Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne earlier this week, told a conference in Berlin: “The British demands to have fair rules is to be fulfilled. I think we can deliver them.”

Schaeuble said he believed a solution could be found that ensured all rules were fair for euro zone states and non-euro zone members alike, without going into detail on what such a compromise deal could look like.

“The British government does not deny that the monetary union needs to be strengthened,” Schaeuble said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she wants Britain to remain a member of the EU and will to do what she can to convince Britons to stay.

During his visit to Berlin on Tuesday, Osborne urged Germany to make sure euro zone decisions were not imposed on Britain and promised in exchange London’s help in making the single currency union stronger.

Reporting by Caroline Copley and Michael Nienaber; Editing by Andrew Heavens