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Sir Graham Watson on the European Summit 30 January


31 Jan 2012


Euro & Finance

Commenting on the agenda of the Informal European Council meeting of today, European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party leader Sir Graham Watson MEP said:

No easy way forward for Greece

"Greece must commit to the same kind of painful economic reforms which countries with Liberal-led governments have already introduced, in particular to address the cost of labour in relation to productivity. The EU can help with investment to provide job opportunities, but there is no way to avoid or postpone hard choices. If a commissioner is to be tasked with 'taking over' wayward economies this should fall within the remit of Commission vice president Olli Rehn, to ensure consistency in policy."

Green investment will improve both employment levels and energy security

"Fully developing the 'green economy' of which the European Council speaks will involve greater clarity from Council and Commission on spending plans within the Connecting Europe facility, Strategic Energy Technology, cohesion policy and EU development assistance involving energy policy. Will the EU's leaders be prepared to spend the lion's share of public investment on electricity distribution, for which power can be generated in the EU, and on the exploitation of renewable sources of energy? Or will they continue to seek new gas supplies in countries which can turn off the taps whenever they so choose? The electricity option is not only more secure but also helps in meeting our targets for combatting climate change."

Come back Bolkestein, all is forgiven!

"Swift and full compliance with reforms already agreed to the single market in areas like trade in services and energy would create many thousands of jobs. Extending the single market further would create millions. Action from the European Commission is not missing here. It is some member states which are dragging their heels. Perhaps the employment commissioner be given similar legal powers to those proposed in some quarters for a new budget commissioner?"

Sir Graham is available for comment today (in German, English, French or Italian) and will give a press briefing at e ELDR Party HQ (Rue Montyyer 31) at 09.00 tomorrow on the outcome of the Council and related issues.

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European Liberal Democrats

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