UK & World News
Cameron: We're Not Turning Our Back On Europe
David Cameron has defended his decision to table a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union in a speech at the Davos summit.
The Prime Minister's address at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland focused on Britain's priorities during its presidency of the G8 and particularly tackled tax evasion and avoidance.
But despite his aides insisting he would not discuss his position on the EU, he dedicated a section of the speech to insisting that he was right to try and achieve a new settlement.
He insisted: "This is not about turning our backs on Europe. Quite the opposite. This is about how we make the case for a more competitive, more open and more flexible Europe and how we secure the UK's place in it."
Setting out his case for reform, Mr Cameron added: "It is not just right for the United Kingdom, it is necessary for Europe.
"Europe is being out-competed, out-invested, out-innovated and it is time we made the EU an engine for growth, not a cause of cost for businesses and complaint for its citizens."
At Davos, the Prime Minister is meeting with some European leaders face-to-face for the first time since his landmark announcement on EU policy on Wednesday.
what do you think?
The rest of the EU leaders have told him that renegotiation is not an option - several times - quite clearly. And, they have the power to enforce that position because our MPs ( God Bless'em) gave it to them without a whimper. It appears Dave is either deaf, dim or both. Out is the only option left to us and we need to take it now not 4 years time.
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Out is the obvious want of the people (not businessmen in general) and if its going to happen it needs to be now as the Europeans have been forewarned on Davids wants so will be well prepared for him. Strange tactics he employs. All things to all men
it needs out now watch rt topday the greeks and rise of far right, youth unemployment levels etc. the single market was doomed to fail and has. politicians and business leaders need to prepare and realise that the eu is not wanted. failure to realise means far right political party gains.
Hamish - you are misinformed. Most recent elections in Europe have returned pro EU governments or coalitions. The coalition in this country is also pro EU (as is the official opposition) The single market has not failed - the single market is the largest exporter in the world and accounts for 25 percent of world GDP - how is that a 'failure'?
Viv, you make the common mistake in assuming the "Single Market" is only trade - it isn't. The Single Market encompasess the free movement of all peoples across the EU; sounds good in principle except it is the sole reason we will be engulfed with all the poor from Bugaria and Romania to Britain for our loverly benefits. The rest of the world trades with the EU countries WITHOUT being members of the EU and without the disadvantages. Dave's false promise of "renegotiation" won't stop any of this UNLESS we vote for out.
' . . .engulfed with all the poor from Bugaria (sic) and Romania to Britain for our loverly (sic) benefits' People who come to the UK come in the main to work. Scare tactics about immigrants are pathetic, wrong and brainless. Last year we were supposed to be 'engulfed' by Greeks, before them Poles, before them Irish, before them Kenyan Asians, before them Black Caribbeans, before them Jews . . . . Can't you see how ignorant your comment is? And anyway, UK residents also have the right to live and work in the EU. And claim benefits. And many hundreds of thousands do.
" Europe is being out-competed --- " !!!!!! So much for the single market.
oh yes we are or ppl will vote bnp and ukip. limited trade agreements with europe. the uk political spectrum will change forever. why do we need to pay uk mp's so much they will be out of work, when eurocrats can do their job. it is in their interests to end globalisation.
The EU is a the world's largest market and accounts for around 25 percent of world GDP. This is not a union the UK should turn its back on. Thankfully Mr Cameron knows this. There is space for change - as there is in any union. Mr Cameron is a pragmatist and will work with our EU partners as it is in Europe's interest for member states to continue to cooperate. The UK will not leave the EU - it would not benefit the UK in any way. Our senior politicians are well aware of this.
Of course we don't want to turn our back on it, nor should we. We do not however want to be run by an unelected, unaccountable, antidemocratic, dictatorial and corrupt soviet style burocracy in Brussels; THAT's what we don't want!
We are NOT run by 'soviet style burocracy (sic) in Brussels' The Council of Ministers consists of elected national representatives and the European Parliament is elected. There is no centralised authority in the EU that is 'dictatorial'. The EU has no resemblance to the USSR whatsoever. The Soviet Politburo was unelected whereas the EU Council of Ministers entirely consists of elected national ministers. All MEPS are elected by the people of the EU.
It's dictatorial in the way its directives (the very word implies dictatorship) are implemented and take precedence over national law. MEPs have little or no influence; they may recommend; the commission decides. It's corrupt ? huge amounts of money disappear and the accounts have not been approved for ? is it 16 years? It's bullying in the way it rides roughshod over member states three of which have rejected further EU integration in national referenda. It's not just us; people in other countries don't want it either. We want trade, but not rule by decree (sorry about the spelling).
You are misinformed. Directives are suggested by national governments or by The Commission. (Directives are usually applicable to common market issues and are not laws) The Directives are then discussed by the Council of Ministers (which is made up by elected national ministers) The Directive is then put to the Parliament (made up of elected MEPs) Parliament can amend, dismiss or agree the directive. So at every stage the directive is discussed, agreed and signed off my UK elected ministers and MEPs. Huge amounts of money DO NOT disappear - get your facts correct. 96 percent of EU redistribution is accounted for. The other 3 - 4 percent is lost in implementation. National Governments are responsible for implementation and not the EU. Less that half a percent is lost to fraud - which, considering the size and the reach of the EU, is impressive.
The EU area also accounts for 50% of the world's social expenditure - benefits, pension liabilities etc. With western aging demographics, structural ecomonic imbalances i.e Greece with 60% youth unemployment, this cannot continue without reductions in benfits and/or huge tax increases as the EU is in structural economic decline verses the more dynamic rest of the world. EU GDP is in structural decline. EU wide taxation is already high and further increases will exaserbate economic decline, with trade slipping further to Asia generally and the BRICS. Don't YOU worry though, it's your children who will really suffer and pay the price for this generation's selfish stupidity.
The EU is already restructuring its welfare and state spending - witness Greece, Italy, Spain and the UK. All European countries have traditionally had generous welfare systems. I personally have never claimed benefits (I have plenty of my own resources) so do not consider myself 'selfish and stupid'. Neither do I consider any generation ''selfish and stupid'. People make rules that are relevant to their era. The Welfare State was consistent with 1940s and 1950s European sensibilities and vision. It is now being reformed across Europe. We must also remember that Europe is the richest market in the world and has made its citizens the wealthiest, healthiest and the longest living in the history of our planet.
PURE!! Diversion from the real problems of the country. Cameron's all out attack on the NHS now baring fruit for his private overseas tax dodging companies cherry picking the work done by our NHS .Wake up before you lose it .
Attack cameron as much as you like, the alternative is a complete bumbling idiot from a party who destroyed everything that the UK stood for during 13 disnmal years
Agree about the last government, but DC is in danger of overtaking Honeymonster Heath as the worst everC
If the EU is allowed to continue then in a few years our countries won't exist. The same as every form you see where it asks for nationality and English isn't an option that will be replaced by European and our borders and identity will be a distant memory. All this is about is the ego trips of power hungry politicians who want to be masters of all. We can exist perfectly well as an independent country in Europe, the Euro wasn't wanted by anyone but the politicians and it is only pig headed arrogance that keeps it going. Stop the rot and get out of it, NO is the only way to go.
I so agree with you! Going to stand for the new parliament? If necessary, let England decide to go it alone and we can get rid of all the faint hearts into Scotland, Ireland and the EU! I think some commentators here are what we used to call fifth columnists!
Viv Hanshall unknowingly states part of the problem - all 3 main UK parties have been pro EU, therefore the people have had no way to democratically make their views known. The pro EU lobby makes it's case by fear - that we would be "isolated", that we "would have no influence" etc etc, all rubbish. We have a huge trade deficit with the EU - a ruinous trade deficit! So why would they "isolate" us? I think there can be a sensible renegotiation & we would be fine out of it if not. The EU has too much to lose by non-cooperation.
I agree Ian. We could save billions in a few years through getting out of the costly EU. For a start, all those UK MEP's would be made redundant - along with all their cost! It would encourage us to grow more of our own food, and we could once again defend our fishing stocks. Those of us who faught the N.a.z.i.s with two fingers and our catapaults are not fazed at the prospect of taking back our nation again, it's all the later, more fearful of everything generations, obsessed with trivia!
'The pro EU lobby makes it's (sic) case by fear - that we would be "isolated"' And the antis bang on about immigrants and foreigners all the time. Which is hardly positive and feeds ignorance and fear. The EU may not 'isolate' the UK but the US, China, Brazil, India, the Middle East would. When it comes to trade / security / foreign policy issues the US will phone Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome before London. If the UK were to leave the EU the consumer would still demand EU products (especially as the UK no longer manufactures much) and the UK would continue to import. What would not be so easy would be exporting to the EU
If the EU were to put up trade barriers against us then obviously we would put barriers up against them. Trade is a two way street. Either way however such action would be contrary to World Trade Organisation rules. The UK has more influence in the world that most other EU countries (sixth largest trading nation, permanent seat on the UN security council) and certainly more that it has as one twentyseventh of the European Union. They would not be keen for us to remain in if we were not an important player. You seem to have a very negative view of the country we live in.
Tariffs are not illegal. They are part of all trade treaties. If the EU imposes tariffs (which it does on non member goods) then the cost of UK exports goes up. (This will have consequences on foreign investment and jobs) If the UK imposes tariffs on EU imports the cost to the UK consumer goes up. Both ways the UK loses out. My view of Britain is not at all negative. On the contrary, my view is not solipsistic, parochial, and full of contempt for fellow Europeans. I believe that Britain has much to offer as a modern, cosmopolitan member of the EU. Britain's interests are served better by being a member of the EU ? a view shared by the leaders of all the main political parties in the UK.
I don't have contempt for Europeans, Viv, or Europe, only the European Commission. I don't even have contempt for that, but I do think we'd be better off out of it and able negociate our own trade deals and to find better use for the substantial sums we currently pay into it. However I can see that you are well informed on the subject and have strongly held contrary beliefs and even if I disagree I can respect you for them.
Sorry but I think that position is rubbish! We have excellent links with all those nations you mention and we are ongoing respected trading partners of theirs. As for the suggestion that the UK no longer manufactures much... utter nonesense! Check your facts with the trade department, or alternately watch F1 - populated with British engineering excellence, or watch Michael Portillos Gt British Train Journeys! Whose side are you on?
I agree with what Viv says We need to be very careful what we vote for! The popular press has been anti EU for years. If you are a member of the working population of the UK you have much to lose, prior to the 1990's workers in the uk had no rights in law, only duties. EU Employment legisation has established rights for workers in the uk. Previously workers contracts were based on something Called the "Master Servant" relationship" small wonder right wing Tories want to return to those times! I am not saying everything is right with the EU, it cleary isn't, we have much to lose, itis not all bad.
you are wrong on employment issues. It was the Conservative government that introduced the Employment Rights Act in 1996, the year before Blair and Brown set about trying to ruin this country.
Well said PAT . Anything the Tories and the crazy right bleat about has to be good sign that we the ordinary people are getting something out of it .
Mike that's why Prime Minister John Major had the split with his Bxxxxxx`s he had to he had no choice.
I ask this question,did britain become great before or after joining europe?
Michael - 'Great' is in reference to union (as in Greater Britain) and is a result of the Act of Union. It's nothing to do with Great as an adjective. Britain would still be 'Great' inside the EU. It would also be wealthier and a better place for workers - as Pat correctly points out; a better place for investors and business. Membership also ensures UK residents the right to work, invest, study, and live in other member states. A fantastic privilege.
yes i think its a great priviledge to be allowed to live in a different member state,but, surely it is one sided as these other member states don't have a welfare system or n.h.s. like we do,isn't that why they are all coming here!!
Well you are misinformed. Germany and France have very generous welfare states as do the Scandinavian countries. If you look into the OECD's Social Expenditure database you can see that the UK is ranked significantly below many other European nations in terms of the money it spends on welfare, including France, Germany and Italy. Learn something before making comments that are so patently incorrect.
your quite right i know nothing,i see the news and hear huge numbers of imigrants coming to this country why don't we just tell them they would be better off in france?
The immigrant populations of Germany and France are already bigger than the UKs'. Spain's is comparable to the UKs'. A million Romanians immigrated to Italy over the past few years. More are likely to emigrate to Italy and France than the UK as Romania shares a similar language to Italian and French ? plus there are already hundreds of thousands of Romanians living there. You are correct - you do know nothing. Research some facts before making generalisations.
peter.you say imigrants in spain is comparative to the uk,are you taking into account that spain is much bigger than the uk. viv.surely its the content of a comment rather than the spelling,
dont think for one minuet that public will be fooled again with a promise of a vote if you are voted in next time.dave if you had a backbone you would give us a vote now, because i will guarantee ukip will take more votes from you and the libs than you could dream of. PHIL A how can you say it would be a better place for workers? there is no work in their country so they come here and work for 50% less money which destroys our standed of living. all so look at the unemployed in all the eu countries Spain 25% Greece 40% italy 27% Ireland 17% and you really want to join ..PS viv hanshall we would bennerfit by £52 million a day better of to start with. wake up and smell the coffee the sooner you realise there is nothing in it for you or me the better.
The latest figures available for unemployment rates in the EU (Eurostat) Nov 2012 are: Spain - 26.6 Greece - 26 (sept 2012) Italy - 11.1 Ireland 14.6 The EU27 is 10.7 per cent p.s. Lance - learn to spell.
Lance - '.PS (sic) viv hanshall (sic) we would bennerfit (sic) by Â£52 million a day better of (sic) to start with. Sorry, what does 'bennerfit' mean? And do you mean 'better off' rather than 'better of'?
Good points, Lance! If we are such a dead loss country, how come so many bribe and cheat their way accross the EU to get here? We English (who form the UK majority in population, voters and taxpayers) really need to get a grip on OUR country again and our rights to it! Be proud of our nation!
Haha he is already tying himself up in knots and it's only been a day since he announced his 5yr bribe! Hopeless, truly hopeless.
Mike Tiplady is correct to say that the consevatives introduced the emplooyment rights act, however they only did this because they had no choice, they had to because, thankfully there was an EU Directive that made them. This was all about something refered to at the time as the "Social Chapter" which in essence was about ensuring that there was a level playing field of employment costs across the EU a fundemental fairness feature of the single market
But where has it lead? Look how many abuse those rights now and how many lawyers feed on them! We need to refine the wording a little so that in all honesty the law means what we meant it to - not what it has become. This is no laughing matter either, we spend billions on these and other EU directives and that is why we are one of the most heavily taxed and regulated countries in the World. How much longer, in a competative world (where there are far larger populations and markets than the minor EU!) do you think we can go on affording all those detailed priviliges that most of the global population does not enjoy?
this will not happen
Britain can very well forge independent trading agreements with eu neighbours. To say we could not survive outside the eu is a downright lie. We would remain part of the EEA as Norway is. Parliament does not have democratic mandate to be part of this monster. We voted to join the EEC in 1975 not this obscene fourth Reich superstate
he will come back with nothing. they will not let him change anything. he will the say nothings changed so NO referendum
this country is run by liars time for a revolution
how good this country is run ..we have charts to show who dies in hospital when its a bank holiday.this is to justify m.ps get 100.000 in pay dirty cheating M.Ps