Geoffrey Van Orden MEP: Outcome of the October 2013 EU summit

Nov 05, 2013

Category:Speeches

Presidents, my group welcomes the progress made by Council on deregulation, promoting trade, readiness to bring Eastern Partners closer, and completing the single market in digital services.

Separately, President Barroso now says that the EU should meddle less in matters which are properly the business of our national governments. I hope the commission as a whole at last gets the message. To date, I fear it has not. For the Berlaymont, it’s business as usual. Let’s take just one example – the Port Services Directive – it was rejected by this house in 2003 and 2007 – but there’s no let up. It’s back. Why has it been resurrected yet again? Perhaps Commissioner Kallas might be persuaded to think again.

Of course, the best way of cutting back unhelpful regulation would be to reduce the number of European directorates and bureaucrats – fewer officials and fewer pet projects means less red tape, more competitiveness and a reduced EU budget – a triple benefit. 

Turning to trade, we welcome the progress made withCanadatowards a trade agreement – but we must not rest on our laurels. We are concerned by the lack of progress on a deal withIndia- why was this not discussed in Council? –  the window of action will be closed by elections next year both here and there. And there’s little time to deliver the US deal, even without irrelevant distractions. We mustn’t let these opportunities slip away.

On migration, the summit conclusions on Lampedusa emphasised the role of Frontex. This debate has so far talked about the problems of front-line states but it has failed to understand that over two thirds of asylum applications are made in just five Northern European states, including my own.

It is not a question of creating new forms of legal migration or merely sharing out the resultant problems, but prevention and tackling the challenge at source, with support for border security in North African states, and workable returns agreements with immediate application.

We need practical solutions here that meet the concerns of our citizens to put an end to mass uncontrolled immigration. Instead of the EU soft line which merely creates more problems.  

A word now on the current intelligence spat, and I wonder about the real basis for the mock outrage expressed by the Commission and others about the alleged activities of the NSA.

Have you read the recent comments of Vice President Reding? She apparently thinks, “What we need is the strengthening of Europe in the intelligence area, in order to ensure that we negotiate with equal terms with theUS. NSA needs a European counterweight – a European Intelligence Agency.”

Whatever next, Mr President?

So there wasn’t really any great principle at stake, only resentment by the European mandarins that theUShad capabilities whichBrusselsdidn’t!

Apart from the sheer hypocrisy it shows how out of touch the European Commission has become. It does not seem to understand that the age of accumulating more and more EU powers, extending Commission competences, is over.  The demand now is the reverse. The EU must do much less and do it better.

Delivered by ECR Vice-President Geoffrey Van Orden MEP at an open Conference of Presidents meeting in the European Parliament, in the presence of European Council President Van Rompuy and European Commission Vice-President Sefcovic