David Cameron urges European leaders to 'be bolder'


David Cameron: "In Britain we had to be bold"

David Cameron has told EU leaders they must be "bolder" if they want to shake off their economic troubles.

The UK prime minister told the World Economic Forum in Davos it was a "perilous time" for Europe's economies and "tinkering won't cut it anymore".

He defended his government's deficit reduction plan, saying it helped the UK "get ahead of the markets".

But UK opposition leader Ed Miliband, said the policy of "collective austerity" was not working.

A host of world leaders and business chiefs are addressing the annual conference in the Swiss ski resort.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a "big rethink" was needed in the eurozone about how to create jobs and raise living standards.

'Political will'

Mr Cameron's speech came the day after official figures showed the UK economy shrank by 0.2% in the final quarter of 2011, with worries about the prospect of a return to recession.

The International Monetary Fund also downgraded its forecasts for global growth earlier this week.

Start Quote

Tinkering here and there and hoping we'll drift to a solution simply won't cut it any more”

End Quote David Cameron

In a message to his European counterparts, Mr Cameron argued his government's efforts to tackle its deficit had "earned credibility and got (the UK) ahead of the markets", and eurozone leaders should now take similarly decisive action.

The eurozone crisis was "weighing down business confidence and investment" across Europe, he said, and EU leaders had to "to show the leadership our people are demanding".

"Tinkering here and there and hoping we'll drift to a solution simply won't cut it any more," he said. "This is time for boldness not caution."

Europe's problems - notably the debt crisis in Greece and the question marks over European banks - were clear, he said, and "with bold action and real political will we can fix them".

'Ambitious deals'

He warned that competitiveness remained Europe's "Achilles heel", with the single market incomplete and "unnecessary" measures from Brussels burdening businesses and destroying jobs.

"Here's the checklist - all proposed EU measures tested for their impact on growth; a target to reduce the overall burden of EU regulation; a new proportionality test to prevent needless barriers to trade in services and slash the number of regulated professions in Europe.

"The truth is, we can't afford to wait any longer."

In the absence of a conclusion to the Doha free trade talks, Mr Cameron also proposed that a "coalition of the willing" could "forge ahead with more ambitious deals of their own" such as agreements with India, Canada and Singapore.

He also called for the EU to "look at options for agreement" with the US in a deal that "could have a bigger impact than all of the other agreements put together".

'Tax madness'

Start Quote

He is standing by because he is stuck with the policy of collective austerity all round the world - it is not working”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

The prime minister also suggested it would be "simply madness" for Europe to unilaterally introduce a tax on financial transactions - as it would see thousands of jobs being lost to other parts of the world.

This was rejected by the Robin Hood tax campaign group whose spokesman said the prime minister had "confused the interests of the Square Mile with the interest of Britain as a whole".

Prior to his speech, Mr Cameron hosted a meeting of UK business leaders also attended by Chancellor George Osborne - who will address the World Economic Forum on Friday.

No 10 said he had also spoken to European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman van Rompuy to emphasise the need for EU leaders to agree "specific targets" on trade and de-regulation at next week's European Council meeting.

Labour's Ed Miliband, who is also in Davos, said the prime minister should be focusing on "taking action at home to get the UK economy moving".

"But he is not doing that. He is standing by because he is stuck with the policy of collective austerity all round the world. It is not working.

"He needs to wake up and realise that, rather than being so complacent about what is happening in Britain."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    In places like China and Malaysia, they call the recession the Western recession.

    Yes, the recession exists only in the countries that increased spending on Welfare state beyond their income funding the difference by borrowing from those countries that did not have similar Welfare state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Alas, actually doing something means writing off sovereign debt and starting again. That's not going to happen. They will print yet more money, which the ECB is already doing via sleight of hand, and slide us all into the abyss of hyper inflation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    "In places like China and Malaysia, they call the recession the Western recession."
    I've just moved back to the UK after 6 years in Malaysia: the news there is similar. They have factory closures, mass lay-offs and only migrant workers have jobs. The reason's the same too: Chinese facilitation of social capital disposal. Theirs is a mutual success with crooks in our respective governments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    I'm a Tory supporter but Cameron needs to keep his mouth shut. With -0.2% contraction we certainly aren't in a position to lecture other countries.

    It's bad enough France and Germany think they own Europe. Let them sort it out whilst we concentrate on our own financial inherited mess!

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Flashman does love to grandstand doesn't he? Does he think that pointless point scoring rhetorical waffle helps anyone? Just another 4th division politician with more power than talent and lacking a sound solution seeking and problem-solving intellect. That's exactly what you get when you can't be bothered to vote in a general election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Regarding comment 36,the goverment would not have to make 500,000
    public sector"workers"redundant if blair, and especially, brown didnt create nearly 1 million non-jobs.
    They Weren't needed then and their not needed now.
    Dole is cheaper than 20000 a year plus pension and perks.
    We all need to live within our means,

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    @ 27.Statement_Germany

    He said Europe, not specifically Germany.
    During the credit reevaluation last week, Germany and the UK were 2 countries that escaped the mass EU downgrade.

    Germany maybe the biggest but it isn't the only country in the EU. 9 other countries, including France were all downgraded. I'm guessing they were the object of his comments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    I can't help thinking that the EU is a big lead weight around the neck of the UK or some vampire sucking out our blood.

    I think it's time to stop putting all our eggs in the EU basket & loosen our relationship with the political & legal constraints imposed by that statist organisation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    more talk from the incompetents who got the whole of europe into the mess its in. Isnt it time they rolled their sleeves up and did something ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Chris888. Can you give some figures to back up your suggestion? (real ones based on real assumptions not invented to suit your argument).

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    We have fabulous growth, low unemployment and debt under control so do it are way europe. I dont know if i should be laughing or crying he is either a fool or a comedian or both with his tasteless racially offensive motivated jokes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.


    'Ed Miliband is really getting irritating with his constant sniping whilst representing the party on whose watch the whole mess was created. Great track record Ed!'

    It's kinda his job to oppose the government, as leader of the opposition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    All a bit embarrasing really. No wonder most of Europe thinks we're unbearably arrogant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Nice of him to give the 'Europeans' such valuable advice. Pity he did so when their rather dodgy currency is strengthening against that other dodgy European currency - the Pound. Still it's hardly a gathering of importance. A vastly expensive junket for self-important people to convince each other and the media how important they really are. Has anything of real use use ever come out of Davos ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    cymru 38

    What, like getting Scotland, Wales and N Ireland to take out enormous debts in £'s to buy our exports, and when they become due say "sorry you're on your own"

    Unlike Germany the UK economy accepted the liabilities of the likes of Hbos (BOS part) and RBS (based where?).

    Germany will not do this for the PIIGS but runs squealing to us and the IMF.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    there goes our Dave, the unelected PM, trotting round Europe offering advice to folk who cannot stand the sight of him. It brings a tear to my eye.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    Space. These are the things between politicians' ears.

    These are voyages of the UK enterprise. It's five year mission, to explore strange new European fiscal subsidies.

    To seek out new cuts and new ways of taxing the tax avoiders.

    To boldly go where no Labour leader dare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Our PM (Black Wednesday Dave) is devoid of ideas which will not condem thousands of his own people to poverty.The rest of Europe understands his policy alright but it will not copy him because what he is doing is simply morally wrong.They are seeking ways to protect their people AND control their debts.He says it can't be done,the rest of the world says it can.Take your pick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Good going Dave!

    Our PM really has the makings of a Great Statesman. Not only did he recently told 26 of our greatest trading partners to shove it - including some (until then) staunch British supporters in the EU - but he also goes and tells them how to keep their own house clean when his own is a nest of vermin, trash and broken furniture and getting worse.

    I feel proud! *sniff*

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    I bet they loved that! He has a bit of a nerve, cuts are one thing but we have no growth and no jobs and not a lot to feel confident about - pot, kettle, black.


Page 14 of 17


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