Callanan: Cut Red Tape and smash vested interests to create a business-led economic recovery

23-Oct-2013 @ 12:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Tomorrow's meeting of EU leaders in Brussels shouldprioritise cutting the red tape that causes Europe to export jobs and wealth,rather than goods and services - Martin Callanan MEP, European Conservativesand Reformists Group leader, said today in a debate with the CommissionPresident Barroso.

Citing a recent report published by a number of businessleaders, which identifies the barriers to making European businesses morecompetitive, Mr Callanan warned that those who push for further centralisationof the EU are undermining Europe's future potential.

Mr Callanan also took aim at the vested interests thatcampaign for more European red tape - often using funding from the EuropeanCommission. He called on the EU to look again at the funding it provides toNGOs, as it is in danger of becoming a Europe 'of the NGOs, by the NGOs, forthe NGOs.'

Speaking in Strasbourg this morning, he said:

"I and my group welcome the emphasis that tomorrow'scouncil will place on economic matters.

"The agenda says the European Council will hold a'thematic discussion', to 'take stock', and 'assess on-going work'.

"I fear that this agenda merely asks for business asusual whilst outside businesses are still struggling.

"We all know what needs to be done; the onlyquestion is whether we have the political will to deliver it.

-Instead of thematic discussions, we need cleardecisions.

-Instead of taking stock, we need action.

-Instead of assessing ongoing work, we need radicalreform to remove the barriers to competitiveness.

"Europe should be exporting goods and services notjobs and wealth - but every time we place an additional burden on businessesand industry we make Europe less attractive to potential investment.

"In my own Member State, research by think tank OpenEurope highlighted that of the 100 most costly regulations for the UK economy,24 laws cost more than the benefits they bring. We need to look again at all ofthese laws.

"Now, the commission's REFIT proposals were a goodopening salvo in the war on red tape. I welcome them.

"With any tape it's much easier to put on than it isto get off. EU red tape is no different.

"But last week we were presented with a new wayforward.

"This report on EU Red Tape was drafted by theleaders of some of Europe's most successful businesses.

"They may be reviled by the far left and Greens inthis chamber. That's because they are not EU funded NGOs.

"But unlike those NGOs these are the people whoprovide the jobs and taxes that pay our salaries.

"We should listen to them with care.

"In this report are some very sensible suggestions,most of which my Group has been arguing for for some time.

"Mr President, one of the absurdities in this debateis that many in this room who bask in the title of "pro-European"have an agenda for centralisation that will damage Europe.

"An agenda that will weaken its economy, limit theopportunities of its peoples, and condemn us all to a poorer future.

"There is nothing "pro-European" aboutobsessively pursuing an outdated vision that is undermining Europe's futurepotential.

"But this old-fashioned agenda is reinforced by manyof the vested interests within the Brussels beltway.

"Just think of all NGOs we face every day, who arepaid by the European Commission to campaign for more European red tape.

"We seek their opinions as "stakeholders".But all too often we are simply receiving the opinions of individuals with acentralising agenda of their own.

"Almost exactly 150 years ago at Gettysburg Lincolnoutlined the challenge of government "of the people, by the people, forthe people".

"Well, today in the EU we face the challenge of aEuropean Union "of the NGOs, by the NGOs, for the NGOs",

"This challenge is why much of the good work done bythe Commission's internal market, trade and industry departments is underminedby the allies of the Commission's own social affairs or environmentdepartments. It's too often a case of one step forward, two steps back.

"Overcoming these vested interests will bedifficult. But I can tell you now where to start: slash the €7.5bn that thecommission gives every year to NGOs.

"And so I would recommend you all read anotherexcellent study : this one by the New Direction Foundation.

"It sets out the reforms needed so that we canrepresent the people of Europe, not predominantly the interest groups of theEuropean district.

"This week I hope that we will seesome action from the European Council.

- Action to break down barriers to starting and expandinga company.

- Action to break down the barriers to Europe'scompetitiveness.

- And action to ensure that our debates are not drownedout by special interest groups with their own agendas.

"These reports show the way forward to reformEurope's economy. They should be set reading for anyone who genuinely wants tosee a business-led recovery in Europe."

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