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Callanan: Cut Red Tape and smash vested interests to create a business-led economic recovery

23 October 2013

Callanan: Cut Red Tape and smash vested interests to create a business-led economic recovery

Tomorrow’s meeting of EU leaders in Brussels should prioritise cutting the red tape that causes Europe to export jobs and wealth, rather than goods and services – Martin Callanan MEP, ECR Group leader, said today in a debate with the Commission President Barroso.

Tomorrow’s meeting of EU leaders in Brussels should prioritise cutting the red tape that causes Europe to export jobs and wealth, rather than goods and services – Martin Callanan MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists Group leader, said today in a debate with the Commission President Barroso.

Citing a recent report published by a number of business leaders, which identifies the barriers to making European businesses more competitive, Mr Callanan warned that those who push for further centralisation of the EU are undermining Europe’s future potential.

Mr Callanan also took aim at the vested interests that campaign for more European red tape – often using funding from the European Commission. He called on the EU to look again at the funding it provides to NGOs, as it is in danger of becoming a Europe ‘of the NGOs, by the NGOs, for the NGOs.’

Speaking in Strasbourg this morning, he said:

“I and my group welcome the emphasis that tomorrow’s council will place on economic matters.

“The agenda says the European Council will hold a ‘thematic discussion’, to ‘take stock’, and ‘assess on-going work’.

“I fear that this agenda merely asks for business as usual whilst outside businesses are still struggling.

“We all know what needs to be done; the only question is whether we have the political will to deliver it.

-Instead of thematic discussions, we need clear decisions.
-Instead of taking stock, we need action.
-Instead of assessing ongoing work, we need radical reform to remove the barriers to competitiveness.

“Europe should be exporting goods and services not jobs and wealth – but every time we place an additional burden on businesses and industry we make Europe less attractive to potential investment.

“In my own Member State, research by think tank Open Europe highlighted that of the 100 most costly regulations for the UK economy, 24 laws cost more than the benefits they bring. We need to look again at all of these laws.

“Now, the commission’s REFIT proposals were a good opening salvo in the war on red tape. I welcome them.

“With any tape it’s much easier to put on than it is to get off. EU red tape is no different.

“But last week we were presented with a new way forward.

“This report on EU Red Tape was drafted by the leaders of some of Europe’s most successful businesses.

“They may be reviled by the far left and Greens in this chamber. That’s because they are not EU funded NGOs.

“But unlike those NGOs these are the people who provide the jobs and taxes that pay our salaries.

“We should listen to them with care.

“In this report are some very sensible suggestions, most of which my Group has been arguing for for some time.

“Mr President, one of the absurdities in this debate is that many in this room who bask in the title of “pro-European” have an agenda for centralisation that will damage Europe.

“An agenda that will weaken its economy, limit the opportunities of its peoples, and condemn us all to a poorer future.

“There is nothing “pro-European” about obsessively pursuing an outdated vision that is undermining Europe’s future potential.

“But this old-fashioned agenda is reinforced by many of the vested interests within the Brussels beltway.

“Just think of all NGOs we face every day, who are paid by the European Commission to campaign for more European red tape.

“We seek their opinions as “stakeholders”. But all too often we are simply receiving the opinions of individuals with a centralising agenda of their own.

“Almost exactly 150 years ago at Gettysburg Lincoln outlined the challenge of government “of the people, by the people, for the people”.

“Well, today in the EU we face the challenge of a European Union “of the NGOs, by the NGOs, for the NGOs”,

“This challenge is why much of the good work done by the Commission’s internal market, trade and industry departments is undermined by the allies of the Commission’s own social affairs or environment departments. It’s too often a case of one step forward, two steps back.

“Overcoming these vested interests will be difficult. But I can tell you now where to start: slash the €7.5bn that the commission gives every year to NGOs.

“And so I would recommend you all read another excellent study : this one by the New Direction Foundation.

“It sets out the reforms needed so that we can represent the people of Europe, not predominantly the interest groups of the European district.

“This week I hope that we will see some action from the European Council.

– Action to break down barriers to starting and expanding a company.
– Action to break down the barriers to Europe’s competitiveness.
– And action to ensure that our debates are not drowned out by special interest groups with their own agendas.

“These reports show the way forward to reform Europe’s economy. They should be set reading for anyone who genuinely wants to see a business-led recovery in Europe.”

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