Ford on Commission's work in 2015: The economy must come first
The European Commission has today presented its Work Programme for 2015, the first of the new European Commission’s term of office. It prioritises 23 initiatives aimed at ‘big’ issues such as investment, the digital single market, energy security, migration and monetary union. However, the programme also proposes the withdrawal or amendment of 80 proposals.
Speaking shortly after the programme was published, the eurorealists’ European Conservatives and Reformists Group MEP Vicky Ford addressed the European Commission President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans. She argued that every action the commission takes must make it easier for businesses to thrive in Europe, which would in turn see higher living standards, an improved environment, opportunity and equality.
Mrs Ford coordinated a list of priority items that the ECR proposed for inclusion in the Work Programme. To read the submission go to: http://ecrgroup.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ECR-CWP-proposals-2015.pdf
Speaking in the parliament in Strasbourg, Mrs Ford said:
“We face unprecedented challenges; our economies are under pressure, our resources are under pressure, our security is under pressure. Europe needs to change. Commissioners you have talked about change – we need to see you deliver.
“We must build our economic strength. Yes we share wider objectives – higher living standards, the environment, opportunity, equality but we need strong economies to deliver this.
“The economy must come first. Every EU initiative should face a simple test: will it make it easier or harder for businesses to thrive?
“Too often the EU churns out new laws without thinking through the impact on growth, on small businesses, on innovation. This must stop.
“We should make our decisions based on evidence – Mr Juncker promised our group he’d keep a Chief Scientific Advisor. Please keep that promise!
“Instead of focusing on yet more new laws we should make sure the existing ones work. And if they don’t work then we must change them. The last Commission promised to remove burdens – will this new team keep the promise? Will you set a target for cutting red tape – and then stick to it?
“We need to focus on growth – the single market in energy and services and new public procurement rules should reduce costs and help growth. Let’s deliver those changes.
“In 2015 we want to look forward to 2050 and not back to the 1950s. We need vibrant digital markets, conditions that let industries succeed and increasing external trade too. If we do not conclude a deep trade agreement with the US, we will be left-behind.
“We must unlock investment especially for small companies and infrastructure, investment built on private funds, on equity, not just on public debt.
“The crisis in public debt is not over. Budgetary stability is still key as are structural reforms. This does not mean centralising social and employment policies. Over-ruling national governments will risk even deeper resentment.
“And Commissioners, we can´t have one set of rules for public spending at home but another in Brussels. You must cut costs and waste from the EU budget and put the EU’s own finances in order.
“It’s because public services are stretched so the people of Europe have concerns about immigration that must be addressed. Yes, we must cooperate with third countries to tackle causes of migration, but serious actions must also be taken to stop abuses of the migration system both within the EU and from outside.
“Our Single market is meant to help businesses and consumers trade easily across 28 countries, not a bureaucratic one-size-fits-all monolith, stifling creativity, reducing competition, not red tape. This is our Reformist vision and we will work with those who share it.”