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European Liberals call for competition ahead of G20


20 Mar 2009


EU Priorities 2020

Liberal leaders today gathered together for the ELDR Prime Ministers Lunch Summit to discuss preparations for the G20 talks in London on 2nd April and called for a real free market instead of stifling the economy with protectionism and for better international coordination in order to ensure a faster economic recovery and to prevent further crises.

Summing up the lunch discussion, Annemie Neyts, ELDR Party President, expressed the leaders' common view that, "the EU has to send a clear message on how to implement the climate package amid the financial turmoil. We have to speed up negotiations and achieve an agreement in view of December's climate summit in Copenhagen in which the EU must play the leading role."

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark stated, "I am very happy to see there's really a consensus among the European countries on how to handle the economic crisis at a EU level. We must strengthen the basic principles of the Single Market - protectionism is not the answer, the answer is free and open markets and competition." Rasmussen added, "the EU must be able to financially help developing countries adapt to the threats of climate change".

Finnish Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen, agreed that the EU Summit must agree on a strong plan that can be tabled at the G20 to get rid of toxic assets, the so called "stress test". Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Didier Reynders added that the re-financing of the IMF must also be discussed at the G20 in view of helping countries in the EU and also further afield.

Brian Cowen, Irish Prime Minister, attended the ELDR Summit and press conference and he informed the press that he is to brief his European counterparts on the state of play of Ireland's preparations for a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, while the Czech Republic is also to inform the other EU leaders on the state of its own ratification process. The leaders all expressed their support for Mr Cowen's handling of the Lisbon Treaty issue and his party's decision to apply for membership of ELDR.

Ahead of the upcoming Swedish EU presidency, Sweden's Europe Minister, Cecilia Malmström stated it will be a difficult presidency in view of the financial challenges, but that the two issues of the economy and climate change must be merged to ensure sustainable economic growth.

Attending the press conference, Graham Watson, leader of the ALDE parliamentary group, said: "EU leaders must sign off on the Larosière recommendations for plugging the holes in our prudential supervision and increasing transparency and accountability of all financial instruments and institutions."It is also make or break time for agreement on the additional ?5bn injection towards energy and transport networks that will lay the foundations for our future growth. "The strength of the single Market and the flagging Lisbon Strategy remain key planks for Europe's future prosperity. EU leaders will bear full responsibility for any failure to support a collective economic response. This is Europe's day of reckoning."