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 115.

    With the state of the UK economy in a right mess under Disasterous Dave, who is he to lecture other countries on their economies?

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Oh I do wish they would be bold enough to show us the door.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Isn't it a bit foolish to try to lecture the Europeans while the UK's budget deficit, government debt, and unemployment are still increasing while the economy is shrinking (while in Germany, Mr. Cameron's implied target of his scolding, all these measures are quite good)? He is looking quite foolish to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    Does anyone really give a flying banana about what this little pipsqueak says or thinks..?

    I...for one .....never will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    I'm sure that the EU leaders were gratified to have our "man of the people" berate them for being reluctant about teetering on edge of the abyss. At least our Mr Cameron doesn't posture for domestic consumption when he's presented with the opportunity. Oh he does? I'm sorry I really hadn't noticed, oh well that's OK if you've a superior background and education . I think I'll punch Baldric now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    @43.Mike from Brum
    In places like China and Malaysia, they call the recession the Western recession.
    This proves my point exactly. This IS a Western recession BUT the rest of the world is forging ahead. The West needs to keep up or risk being left behind, dithering about Robin Hood Tax policies. We had Robin Hood Tax during the Blair Years - now we're paying the price.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    @100. LeftieAgitator

    "For the Euro to survive, there will be de-facto fiscal union, this will affect the non-Eurozone EU."

    Yes. De-facto fiscal union seems almost certain now.

    "UK veto trumped."

    How? If there if further fiscal union it seems inevitable that we will leave the EU. We will certainly NOT lose our veto.

    Bring it on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    Look at the way our economy has nosedived since Cameron took office. Why should other European leaders take lessons from a man who runs one of the largest economies in the world as if he was running his household budget?

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    Milliband and Balls are right and have been all along, we are about to hit their double dip recession caused by the Austerity programme.

    The problem is no-one is listening because the presentation is poor and the Tories have spun the clearing up Labours mess message with their LibDem allies. Excellent marketing if poor economics

    Bring back Mandelson to the back room.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    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.
    Isn't that what successive British Prime Ministers of very different economic viewpoints been doing here for some years? Or is what you believe these feckless Europeans are doing somehow different, because it's not called 'Quantitative Easing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Funny how economists having being telling cameron the same thing. A bit of "Pot calling the kettle black". He says he is going to cut back our nation's debt and his government has just been increasing it, without proper investment. Who is going to believe in his propaganda? Oh well, keeps the simple minded people on his side, while the pound keeps on sliding in to the great Abyss.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    There are major reasons European Countries won't hammer the poor and middle earners as Cameron and Clegg have.
    Europeans won't stand for it. The turmoil would lead to a futher recession.
    We complain about Industrial unrest here! Greeks protest. French Trawlermen and Spanish Air Traffic Controllers strike more often than we do.
    They also have better work conditions and lower pension ages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    "Only me!!! You don't want to run the EU like that, you want to run it like I'm ruining the UK. You don't want to be creating jobs, you want to be cutting back public services and putting people on the dole. You don't want to listen to professionals who have been doing a good job for decades, you want to be telling everyone how to do their job, even when you don't have a clue, like me. Only me!!!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Blimey, the Tory party introduced deregulation in the 80's and he is still protecting it now

    Give us the Robin Hood tax - it's the solution.

    I feel Miliband, though far better tthan our present PM, would also not do the job well either. We need an Italian style specialist!
    Can we have an expert person for an experts job please??!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    I'm a Labour supporter but I'll vote tory until Milliband is out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Germany's position is they want to see those Eurozone country's in deepest trouble taking measures to reduce debt and put in place measures to ensure it won;t happen again.
    Not surprising for a country which experienced two currency re-reviews in 28 years and hyper-inflation.
    For the Euro to survive, there will be de-facto fiscal union, this will affect
    the non-Eurozone EU.
    UK veto trumped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    The EU is introverted & protectionist like it political architects the French. This will not change.

    The only way of dealing with the EU is take from it what you want & avoid what you don't want. Everybody in Europe understands this, it is only the British who seem to play by the rules and get milked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    There's bold and then there's being reckless.

    It is undeniably bold to attempt to make a case for why the industry that has caused the most damage should not pay for the repairs.
    It is dangerously reckless to gain a reputation amongst your friends as a patronising, two-faced fool.

    from the state of the UK's economy with him at the helm, i think the €Z can quite comfortably ignore him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    WE & Cameron have known for a long time that the EU was EVEN MORE incompetent than Labour.

    The EU needs VERY STRONG action to end the facade that the EU has become.

    It concentrated far too much on Societal, PC nonsense rather than the 'Nuts & Bolts' of proper Governance.

    PC will destroy the West...

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Miliband is wrong, collective austerity IS working - for the banksters who are hell bent on making entire national populations shoulder all of the pain from their years of institutional malfeasance. The 'financial crisis' that has been ongoing for 4 years is nothing more than global banks and puppet governments struggling to avoid the natural consequences of abject failure/criminal activity.


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