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 335.

    I think Cameron should focus on sorting out UK Ltd, we have our own problems that need sorting out first. Before we can go around and give others advice. The EU will sort itself out, probably quicker then we will sort out our problems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    I'm not a fan of Cameron but his speech was good and he is right in citing trade as the means to cure the 'crisis'. For too long, socialist ideology, emanating from Brussels has choked entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to trade freely. Loss of competitive advantage by such idiocy as the CAP and some socialist legislation puts the whole of Europe at a disadvantage to the rest of the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    1) STOP sending the jobs to the Far East! START making things IN the countries that make up the EU.
    2) Cap house prices! This is a major sorce of inflation that we can do without. (nobody can afford to put a roof over there head at a reasonable price any more).
    3) Get rid of Cameron!
    4) GB vote OUT Scotland! I'm sick of their winging about running their own back water!

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    Doesn't he ere lay down at night and think to himself "God, I was a total hypocrite today!"
    His own policies and actions have led to a contraction in the UK, so what the hell is he doing telling Europe what they need to do? If he were honest (and if other politicians were too) they would admit that this is a controlled collapse, inevitable, unstoppable since 2008. Temporary slowing measures only.

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.


  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    Isn't it funny, European Union, which was founded as a common market(For French) is now in search of markets. After enjoying all those post-colonial agreements, now it seems the world is not enough.

    As the world nations go on developing only was Eu can keep compete their production seems to be wild devaluation of euro. But then bankers would loose much, we do not want that to happen, do we?

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    304 Ode to the Euro

    Well done, that man - right on the button.

    Can't see why you got negatives - maybe some people can't stomach the truth or perhaps it was the poetry!

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    All these people earning more than 20k euros per month with early retirement, index linked pensions with top ups (value in excess of 5 million), business cars, several homes around Europe, 1st class travel, generous expense allowances and no audit in living memory which has been signed off. You know these people that don't work on performance.


  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    "Credibility"---Teetering on the edge of recession
    "Be bold" -----Cut child allowance, cut wages, cut pensions, cut disability, cut public sector, cut cut cut, and hamstring the private sector for jobs and growth.
    "Ahead of the markets"---£millions in bonuses, pensions and perks as they gloat and glory while the rest of us suffer.
    1million cokeheads in Engaaland.
    So who's yanking who's chain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    Ode to the Euro Part 7

    France has been downgraded, and so have all the rest
    Their leaders only tinker, now they’re second best

    What will happen now - the leaders can’t agree
    No convergence for the euro - they’re stuffed, financially

    Unless the Germans pay, the euro - it will go
    The moral of the story is: you reap just what you sow!

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    Cameron is a lightweight trying to look important in front of 500 million people. He is a nonsense proved by backing down and giving the RBS boss a bonus instead of a pay cut. He is gutless and this country is suffering because, as a multi-millionaire, he hasn't a clue about economics or the needs of living from day-to-day. We have to hope he will soon be 'elevated' out of the way to the Lords.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    Dear Auntie Beeb,

    Dare you publish the full renumeration of the following public servants.


    Oh sorry you can't collate that info. It may lead to difficult questions. And you talk about city workers. Laughable!

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Ode to the Euro Part 6

    But when they tried to borrow, the lenders said: “now wait”!
    If you want to borrow more, you must pay a higher rate

    With higher interest and no money the others feared the worst
    They tried to export and to earn, but their bubble had been burst

    Now few will lend to them, whilst Germany has been smart
    And counts it’s gold and money, from which, it will not part

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    321. Yes because David Cameron single handed put those people out of work, he increased our debt and he's covered up we're in a recession, good work there. People were put out of work because companies were going bust as the bubble of debt burst, the debt will continually increase because of the interest we are forced to pay on it - thanks Labour, and we are not in recession.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    If being bold means putting millions out of work, increasing our debt and denying we are in a recession then I would rather be a cowering wimp. I thought it was bad in the 80's when they couldn't care less. This is worse! And yet still the well off get fatter and richer. When are people going to wake up and say this is enough?

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    If Cameron is so worried about Europe, why doesn't he honour his "cast-iron guarantee" to give the people (who pay his salary) the choice of whether we remain in it or not?

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    308 Frenchliving
    I dont know why I bother the ignorance and lack of perspective winds me up. I genuinely worry that the country will degenerate into a socialist basket case as in the 70s and based on the intelligence of many posts on HYS I think that is possible. Tribal football politics based on inbuilt dogma and prejudice that ignore facts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    Ode to the Euro Part 5

    They could not compete on costs, too much was being spent
    but the Germans, they were happy, getting back what they had lent

    The clever Germans also, kept their wages really low
    The rest borrowed more, so their pensions, they could grow

    When asked to pay some back they shook their heads with sorrow
    There was nothing in the bank, now they could only borrow!

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    306. mac fae stirling: Start from a premise that all politicians are bandits.

    We have EU flavored ones that give their mates jobs, expense accounts and huge pensions. Let us look at Rompuy's package?


    Anyone got the numbers? Thought not. I doubt more than 0.005 % of people who work in the city earn more than him. DC on the is paid modestly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    308, Trickle down is a myth.

    But if you say it enough it becomes tru....

    nope, it's still a myth. Brought to you by the neo-lib, sell your mother make a buck marketing department, or, the 1980s as I like to call it. We've just picked up the bill, it is firmly in -ve territory and the cupboard is bare.


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