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German president urges Britain not to abandon EU, says no one in Berlin seeks 'German diktat'

BERLIN – Germany’s president is appealing to Britain not to turn its back on the European Union, while voicing understanding for its frustration with the EU.

President Joachim Gauck said in a speech Friday that only a more united Europe can be a global player. That prospect is unappealing to many in Britain, where Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a future referendum on whether to leave the EU.

Gauck said of Britons: “We need your traditions, your soberness and your courage.” He added: “More Europe should not mean ‘without you.'”

Germany’s presidency has little executive power but carries moral authority.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has often been criticized abroad for its approach to the debt crisis but Gauck says no one there aspires to give orders to other countries.