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Merkel backs Juncker but hints ready to reach out to Britain

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated support for Jean-Claude Juncker as the European Commission's next head on Thursday but indicated a willingness to consider concessions to Britain, which opposes him.

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated support for Jean-Claude Juncker as the European Commission's next head on Thursday but indicated a willingness to consider concessions to Britain, which opposes him.

Merkel told a joint press conference with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt that Germany supported the former Luxembourg prime minister for the job.

She also insisted on the need to take all decisions "in the European spirit".

"That implies that we take every member state seriously. That doesn't mean that one can fulfil all wishes, but it means that elsewhere one perhaps can think about what is very important for Britain," Merkel said.

She added that she was ready to talk "very constructively" with Britain about issues such as reducing bureaucracy or what issues should be decided by Europe or by nation states.

British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed this week to fight to the bitter end to stop Juncker becoming the next head of the European Commission.

Cameron says Juncker is a federalist who will not adopt the reforms that London says are needed to put the 28-member bloc back on track.

For her part, the Danish prime minister told reporters that her country supported the candidate who could gather "the broadest possible support" in the Commission and European Parliament.

But she said the most important thing was to now focus on what the EU would seek to do over the next five years.

European leaders are expected to hold talks on the European Commission leadership at a European Council meeting on June 26 and 27 in Brussels.

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