June 10 - A two day meeting to discuss EU reforms comes to an end in Sweden. Sonia Legg looks at the challenges the leaders face following damaging European elections.
It's not exactly a sinking ship but the European Union did take a hit below the waterline in the elections last month. The success of extremist parties has left leaders floundering. The UK's David Cameron had already been calling for reform - the vote gave his message extra weight. He and several colleagues, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have been considering a new course during a two-day sojorn at the Swedish Prime Minister's country residence. SOUNDBITE)(English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "If we can achieve reforms, if we can demonstrate openness, competitiveness, flexibility, less interference, reform, people that are capable of taking the European Union forward in that direction, that will be helpful, and obviously if the European Union doesn't go in that direction, that will be unhelpful." Who'll be the next European Commission President was top of the agenda. Jean-Claude Juncker is no longer a certainty. (SOUNDBITE)(German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "We've all said that personalities weren't the focus of our discussions, but that what we want to do is what there has been so little of so far, and that is to talk about content, about what is important for the citizens of Europe." But Merkel did reaffirm her support for the former Luxembourg Prime Minister - despite elements of the British media seemingly set on blackening his name. Some of their reports haven't gone down well in parts of Europe. IG's Alastair McCaig says Cameron needs to tread carefully when it comes to his reform agenda. SOUNDBITE ALASTAIR MCCAIG, IG, SAYING: "I think it is going to be difficult for David Cameron to russell up enough support to get this pushed through but I think he is making a pertinent point as far as the decision-making process is concerned and there shouldn't be an automated change of leadership. We are already relatively unpopular as far as mainland Europe is concerned, as far as intervening in actions, and I dare say this will again rile the likes of the French for instance." The UK said the talks were "constructive but not resolved" Cameron knows he mustn't rock the boat or Merkel may not be so keen to help renegotiate the UK's relationship with Europe.