Thursday, 1 December 2011

Fiddling whilst Rome can't Borrow

Here is my speech from last nights European Parliament meeting.

Last week Germany could not sell one third of its bond issue, yesterday the Italian Government paid nearly 8% interest and today two million people are striking in Britain even though the UK public pension black hole is the biggest in Europe. Right now this Parliament and every parliament should be looking at how to help growth, remove red tape and get businesses moving, but instead we have been in back rooms arguing about just when an economic dialogue would fit into Parliament’s timetable and who should be on the guest list.

Of course countries should consider how their economic policies affect others, but MEPs are now asking for a new treaty to give the European Parliament a vote on economic guidelines. This will not decrease the resentment of many of our citizens when they see decisions being taken in faraway places, and it will not help our businesses to grow. Members, we really must stop fiddling whilst Rome cannot borrow!

It was late but there were almost more than the usual handful of MEPs in the room. A the end of the speech I was applauded by members of MEPs from Europe's largest centre right party the EPP, but Othmar Karas pulled me a sad smile from their front bench. He knows just how hard we have been working together in the back room negotiations to tone down the language of deficit deniers from the left. I can't support the final report but its much less bad than it could have been. I knew Othmar agreed with much of what I said about unlocking bureaucracy, helping growth. Thats where we really need to work together. If you want to see the videos or speeches there are all here

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