Cameron's Davos agenda of competitiveness and opening trade is real answer to EU's crisis
Posted, January 26, 2012 @ 16:00
David Cameron's agenda for growth - set out in his Davos speech today - is the only long-term answer to the EU's competitive crisis, which is just as serious and pressing as the Sovereign Debt crisis, the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament, said today.
In his speech, the UK Prime Minister urged the rest of Europe to be 'bolder'. He set out an agenda for completing the Single Market and reducing stifling red tape on enterprise. Mr Harbour, the ECR chairman of the European Parliament's internal market committee said that his main checklist of reforms was already being delivered by ECR MEPs in the European Parliament. For example, Sajjad Karim MEP is working on proposals for better legislation, which will see all future proposals tested for their impact on small businesses, and a reduction in the overall burden of EU law with a 'one in, one out' approach. Emma McClarkin MEP's report on professional qualifications has helped form the basis for new legislation that will assist professional workers in having their qualifications recognised across the single market, whilst tightening up protection against rogue or ineffective workers.
Cameron also called for a 'coalition of the willing' to pursue bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in light of the ongoing failure to reach a multilateral agreement under the Doha round. Robert Sturdy, the ECR's international trade spokesman and Vice-President of the trade committee in the parliament, was the parliament's lead member on granting approval to the first of the new FTAs with South Korea - which will cut tariffs on EU products by €1.6 billion by 2016.
ECR group Chairman Martin Callanan MEP said: "The EU faces two crises: a sovereign debt crisis and a crisis of competitiveness. Instead of discussing treaties or new powers for EU institutions we need to funnel all of our energy on jump-starting economic growth and making the whole EU more competitive in a fierce global world. Europe will be left behind if we do not act immediately and with ambition.
"David Cameron is right to point out the fundamental weakness of the Eurozone, which is the divergence of northern and southern European economies. The strait jacket of the Euro has exacerbated that divergence."
Robert Sturdy MEP said: "By 2015, nearly 90 per cent of world growth will be generated outside of Europe, much of this in the Pacific area. This is a staggering statistic. The EU must re orientate its trade to take into account these current realities.
"In view of this, the EU has implemented a progressive bilateral trade agenda that has targeted the world's dynamic and high growth economies. After the success of the EU-South Korea FTA that came into force last summer, the EU has been pursuing similar agreements with India, Japan, Singapore and Canada amongst others. Only by taking into account the advantages and opportunities of the rise of 'the rest' has to offer, will the EU be able to guarantee economic growth and prosperity into the 21st Century."
Malcolm Harbour MEP, who was this week re-elected chairman of the internal market committee in the parliament, said: "Much of David Cameron's agenda for completing the Single Market is being taken forward. Our focus has been on bringing the Single Market into the digital age so that online businesses can offer goods and services across 500 million people.
"We are also in the process of agreeing a major reform of public procurement rules. Our aim is to encourage innovation in the way that public bodies commission goods and services so that taxpayer money is saved and smaller businesses are given access to this untapped potential. This reform would act as a substantial boost to businesses across Europe.
"A Single Market that is open within itself and to the outside world is the best way of granting our businesses new opportunities. EU regulation is still placing too many burdens on entrepreneurs. There is so much more that we can be doing to free the hands of businesses so that they can dedicate all of their energies to growing rather than complying.
"The previous EU summit called for the completion of all the Single Market Act proposals by the end of 2012. The SMA is the centrepiece of the European Growth Agenda and the ECR was pivotal in getting it approved.
"Whatever the short term answers to this crisis, more open and competitive markets must be the long term answer. A commitment to increasing competitiveness and opening markets will go a long way towards inspiring some confidence in the markets that we will come through the storm."