Syed Kamall: the EU must meet the challenges of the 2050s, not the problems of the 1950s

02-Jul-2014 @ 14:0

Syed Kamall Syed Kamall

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Syed Kamall: the EU must meet the challenges of the 2050s, not the problems of the 1950s

Speaking for the first time in the Strasbourg chamber as leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Syed Kamall today said his group will cooperate with those in the new parliament who wish to discuss ideas for reforming the European Union.

Speaking in a debate on last week’s EU summit, Kamall said that the real loser from the European elections was the ‘status quo’. He called for a forward looking agenda to face the challenges of the 2050s, and not look back to the ideas of the 1950s. He said the communiqué adopted by the EU’s 28 leaders should be turned into the building blocks for reform, to focus on exploiting the Single Market, creating a climate of entrepreneurship, opening trade, enhancing energy security and efficiency, supporting Europe’s neighbourhood, and cutting bureaucracy.

Speaking this morning, he said:

“Much has been said about the winners and losers in the recent European election. Well, let me tell ask you to consider the real loser in May: The status quo.

“For, a growing number of people believe that Europe cannot go on as it is. Europe has to change. And that change has to start now.

“They do not believe that the choice is between “more Europe” and “no Europe” They want a better Europe.

“A Europe that allows our nation states to cooperate freely. Not a one size fits all superstate. A Europe which embraces the future – not one that lives in the past. A Europe to meet the challenges of the 2050s. Not the problems of the 1950s.

“In the ECR, we aspire to give these people a voice.

“So as the new leader of this growing force, I want the ECR to become an exciting hub for new ideas for reform.

“Ideas that make the EU fit for the challenges of the future in an interconnected global economy.

“But, so far this week, we have seen too much of the politics of the past. The type of politics voters rejected in May.

“That is why, to all those new and re-elected MEPs across the House, I make this plea:

“Let us turn our backs on a Parliament of the backroom deal and the sharing of spoils. Let us reject a parliament focused on self-interests and personal ambitions. Let us leave behind a parliament of dogma and intolerance towards minority views that challenge the convention wisdom.

“Instead, let us rather build a parliament based on tolerance and respect. Let us build a parliament of passionate debates and stimulating ideas. Let us build a parliament that seeks fresh approaches and new solutions.

“So let me give you this pledge: our group will work together and form coalitions with others based on ideas for reform.

“And, we take the nomination of Jean Claude Juncker in the same spirit.

“Our concerns about the process are well-known . They need not be repeated again today. Because, we are a group that wants to look forward not back. But, if this parliament elects Mr Juncker then we will work with the commission if he pursues a forward-looking agenda of reform. A forward looking agenda of decentralisation. A forward looking agenda to face the challenges of the 2050s, and not look back to the ideas of the 1950s.

“We welcome the fact that the summit communique sets out a number of priorities that look to the future. We welcome the reference to ‘different paths of integration’. Recognising the diversity of our interests and traditions. A flexible Europe of nation states cooperating where there is mutual interest and public support, rather than the old dream of a one-size-fits-all superstate.

“So Mr President, let us turn those ideas from the European Council statement of: exploiting the Single Market, creating a climate of entrepreneurship, opening trade, enhancing energy security and efficiency, supporting our neighbourhood, and cutting bureaucracy, into the building blocks for reform.

“If you want to deliver real change in the EU, we look forward to cooperating with you. If you want to defend the status quo, we will urge you to embrace change. If you want to look back to the past, we will confront you with the challenges of the future.

“And that, Mr President , is the real division in this parliament today. Between those that want to prepare the European Union ready for the 2050s. And those who cling to the ideas of the 1950s.

“The ECR is a new force with a modern agenda. To give Europe a fresh start. That is our belief and our mission. We will work with all of you who want to succeed by embracing the challenges of the 21st century – together.”

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