Europe Will Lose Out Unless We Raise Our Game
The reality is that Europe has to figure out how to compete better globally. Anyone who doubts that should take a trip to India. We have a crisis over European competitiveness, and that means that some painful lessons need to be learned. Cameron is right to use this fact to start a debate over the future shape of a united Europe, and we now have the opportunity to improve the EU -- to deepen the single market, increase trade with the growing global economy, and lighten the regulatory load.
European Leaders Need to Step Out of Their Ivory Towers and Face Facts.
What works in Brussels is not necessarily working elsewhere -- ignoring the complaints will mean that parties such as the Golden Dawn and UKIP in the UK will be listened to and grow. Justifyinga Commission with a multi-billion-pound budget but not enough focus on controlling spending and shutting down programs that haven’t worked is not a viable long-term solution to the Eurozone crisis.
A Threat to British Business?
Renegotiation will ensure that investors will start placing an “uncertainty premium” on the UK, according to Pimco’s Mohamed El-Erian. US clients that have not been immersed in the European debate will want clarity and likely will avoid the UK. That may be the knee-jerk response, but if we don’t stop the steaming train and question the route, we may find ourselves at a different location than where we thought we were heading.
European regulation is heading out of control. The tide of financial regulation alone is confusing, contradictory and challenging for businesses. A reformed EU must be more competitive, with flexible labor markets and fewer, less intrusive institutions – otherwise, it will be doomed to failure. And it would appear that there are those in Europe who would agree. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is apparently prepared to consider Mr. Cameron’s proposals, and the Swedish, Dutch and Czech ministers also came out in praise of his speech this week.
A Dangerous Gamble
But Cameron should save the champagne for later. His speech represents a high-risk strategy. The British population takes for granted their right to work, live or retire in any other EU country, but we cannot expect to continue to call the shots in Europe, and even less so on the world stage, if we have wrestled power back from Brussels. The risk remains that by making this commitment, Cameron is placing the economic future of Britain and Europe in the hands of the electorate -- and that is a high-risk strategy indeed.