Martin Callanan on European Council on youth unemployment

Jul 02, 2013

Category:Speeches

We keep debating unemployment and poor growth. But what enduring steps are we taking to solve this crisis?We’re taking some. But not nearly enough.

Why is that? Because too often vested interests are obstructing the reforms that we desperately need.

We fail to see that more laws, more initiatives, and more red tape harm businesses and stop people from working.

Sometimes, less is more.

Let me give you an example. This is from someone who works in a temporary work agency and deals with the Agency Workers Directive. I quote:

“In many cases drivers who are employed on a Pay as you Earn basis are actually being stopped from working after their 11th week as this is the point at which the regulations kick in.”

President, people are being stopped from working because of the laws we pass in Europe.

The commission’s own European Vacancy Monitor showed that after the Agency Workers Directive came into force vacancies at Randstad – France’s leading temp agency – fell by 20 percent in two months.

This is legislation brought in to protect workers. But actually it persecutes them.

If we are serious about solving this problem then here are two good places to start:

1 – scrap the laws that punish productivity and entrepreneurship;

And 2 – open up markets so that enterprise is rewarded and not penalised.

The best way to create more employment in Europe would be to create some unemployment in the European Commission.

Fewer officials dreaming up new rules and regulations.

Fewer pet projects.

Fewer vested interests standing in the way of structural reforms.

Mr President, the saying ‘less is more’ should apply to the EU.

That is why I fully support the Dutch government’s efforts to draw a line in the sand.

To say that here are competences that we believe are better exercised closer to the people.

That ‘ever closer union’ is not the answer to our problems.

I am sure that Mr Verhofstadt will also want to show support for this position put forward by one of his liberal governments?

The problem is that we in this parliament and officials in the commission are dominated by vested interests.

This parliament seeks to extend its powers at every opportunity.

Commission officials move their careers forward by formulating new ways to interfere in our lives.

Ever closer union has become synonymous with ever more meddling, regardless of whether it is the right thing to do for our economy or our people.

We will soon be perfectly harmonised and equal in Europe. Unfortunately we will have harmonised poverty and equalised unemployment.
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There is an alternative. And that is to cut this red tape;

To redirect our efforts to opening up markets;

And to reward hard work.

To do so will not be easy. There will be protests from many lobby groups, unions, and others often funded by the EU. But by taking on these vested interests we will open the door to the economic reforms we must make.

That is why I would like to see President Barroso use the last few months of his term to take on the socialists who are preventing these reforms.

Infact, I have to admit that I am at bit of a loss today.

I usually stand here and reprimand President Barroso. 

Or I denigrate the French socialist government.

But now they are doing such a good job attacking each other that I’m not sure they need me anymore!

But frankly, some of the comments made by French Ministers in recent weeks have underlined their utter desperation.
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President, we now know that it is possible to overcome vested interests. The long-term budget talks have shown that change is possible.

The siren voices continue to argue that reducing the EU budget will somehow damage the economy in Europe.

That is not true.

It will harm those dependant on EU handouts

such as the trade unions and NGOs that the commission funds.

But does anybody outside this bubble believe we cannot reduce the budget yet increase its value?

If we want to solve the EU’s economic crisis then we need to overcome these vested interests that stand in our way.

They stop us from delivering a better Europe by constantly forcing us to deliver ‘more’ Europe. We can do more to help Europe’s economy – by doing less.