Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is ready to discuss Britain's 'wishes' on the EU after Prime Minister David Cameron announced an in-or-out referendum.
Merkel said that intensive talks would be held with Britain about its ideas but that every member of the European Union had their own interests and Europe meant always having to find a 'fair compromise'.
'Europe also always means that you have to find fair compromises,' she told a joint press conference on Wednesday with visiting African Union President Thomas Boni Yayi, who is also the president of Benin.
'In this context, we are of course ready also to talk about British wishes but one must keep in mind that other countries also have other wishes and we must in the end always find a compromise,' she said.
'Therefore we will speak very intensively with Britain about its ideas.'
Merkel said she was pleased that Britain greatly valued Europe being a competitive continent and said she was now doing what she could to ensure joint medium-term budgetary planning was agreed 'because that is also the condition for growth in Europe'.
'And that is also in British interests that our economy again starts up.'
Earlier German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that Berlin wanted Britain to remain an active and constructive part of the EU but rejected 'cherry-picking'.