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 275.

    Coming from Cameron, a call for 'bold action' is a bit rich. His record so far has been bold words followed by timid action or no action at all. He's right to call for leadership; unfortunately he doesn't have a track record at providing it. Which is sad, because the alternatives (Miliband, Clegg) are so inept as to to be a far worse prospect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    Does it get any worse for poor Milliband....He cant say too much about debt crisis cos they caused it......and now he cant say much about bankers bonus payments because Gordon rubber stamped the £900k RBS bonus.....His brother must be laughing his socks off that he lost the leadership contest.

    Come on big brother come back and save us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    "Is any party worthy of our trust"

    Over the last 35 years I've voted for 'em all at some point. I can't recollect a time when I didn't feel 'that didn't work' at the end of their term in office. The dream that 'we'll all be better off' never seemed to come true.

    Or, if we were better off we didn't believe it. Which was true?

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    Now the US is growing at last, Germany continues to grow (while Britain continues to shrink!) the rest of Europe is nowhere near as bad as all these eurosceptics are telling us.
    - So now Cameron is blaming Europe again! Surprise?
    Even if Europe is slow to sort things out - we have bigger internal problems here and, it's Cameron to blame for all that - nobody else!

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    263 Martin
    The statement that the RBS bonus was contactualy agreed by Labour has turned out to be an invetion to excuse Tory support for fat cats and an unequal society. Not only is there no entitlement to a bonusplus it has to be ratified by the shareholders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    RBS boss gets a million while 3000 more people lose their jobs at the MOD both on the same page that really does say it all while DC is out of the country spouting more tory garbage at the taxpayers expense.Even if i was a tory voter id want rid of him his policies cant even get through the lords

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    In the intrest of balance, Mr. Stephen Hester is recieving £963,000 in shares not cash, so unless we know what exactly he's planning to do with these shares we shouldn't really judge him yet. For all we know he might decide to re-invested the dividens back into the company... who am I kidding he aint gonna do that now, is he?

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Monty Pythons Flying Circus has nothing on our brave Prime Miniister telling Euroctrats to be bold.They should action .
    The same action he took to stop RBS paying mega money to the saviour of RBS.
    Just throw Taxpayers money into a duff company.Compound the problem by doing zero to stop unjustified Bonus Payments...
    Unless,it was never Taxpayers Money that saved RBS?

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.


    That's the problem with Europhile slanted opinions.

    They can always warn of the dire consequences of coming out, but can never provide convincing 'positives' for remaining in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    I think he uses this word because he really wants us to 'feel' the obstinate stupidity of Iranian politics, whilst alluding to its metaphorical sickly hardening bodily organs. Daves performance is reminiscent of another hardening bodily organ. Psychology has a thing called Projection Bias. Isn't he just projecting his fears of being small, unimaginative and gutless, onto the continent

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    I think Cameron should shut up: it is far better he keeps his mouth shut and lets people wonder whether he really is incapable, rather than open it and leave no doubt in everyone's mind. The same goes for most of our politicians: mediocre, third-rate, self-interested and in the pockets of various groups rather than a servant of the country's best interest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    "the need for EU leaders to agree "specific targets" on trade and de-regulation"

    What a wally.
    What did de-regualtion of the financial markets achieve?
    This is a leader seriously out of his depth.
    One more good reason for we Scots to vote for independence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Cant blame DC for RBS....Bailed out by labour and bonus announced today agreed when appointed by Labour. Is any party worthy of our trust

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    @260.John Campbell
    Our Church Leaders have the same faith in Jesus.

    It is also said Jesus could achieve miracles.
    Another failure then: as no party has achieved anything since Thatcher was "assassinated" and at best all she said was No No No.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
    You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
    You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
    You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
    You gotta stay together

    A spokesman for the chairman of RBS stated today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    Are Political Leaders very important?
    Well,yes...;.they dictate how much tax we pay..or how much tax we can avoid.
    They decide who should go to war with,or who we should avoid upsetting.
    They are all knowing.
    No one,repeat no one,knows more than them.
    Must be true....
    Our Media keeps talking about them
    Have to say.
    Our Church Leaders have the same faith in Jesus.
    But Media not interested.

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.


    "RBS chief to get £900,000 bonus. Well that's bold"

    Technically, since the tax payer owns 83% of RBS...

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    How come everyone I talk to, and every conversation I overhear is about bringing back maunufacturing? It appears that everyone knows what the UK(and the EU) needs better than the current economists.

    If we had been bold and told the people who run our industry where to get off we might not be in this position. Low wages and poor conditions equals zero growth. Ask the developing countries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    @249Phil Moisey Lets be even Bolder £900,000 bonus for RBS chief let him have £9,000,000 because £900,000 just isn't bold enough

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    "to show the leadership our people are demanding".

    How can this man lecture others when he is showing no leadership, RBS chief getting £900,000+ bonus, how are we ALL in this together. The man is deluded.


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