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Tony Blair tells MEPs how Europe should face up to globalisation
Tony BLAIR, President-in-Office of the EU Council, told MEPs that it was necessary to get Europe moving again and get it moving in the right direction. There were three main aims: first, to get agreement at the Hampton Court summit on what was the right direction for Europe and its economy; second, to agree on a set of new priority areas reflecting that direction; third, to get a budget deal in December in the light of these priorities.
Research, development and innovation should take a larger share of the EU budget, but there should also be a better coordinated approach between the Member States by setting up a European Research Council along the lines of America's National Sciences Foundation.  This would give us a chance to form world beating companies in the technologies of the future.
Those countries which opened their labour markets to the 10 new Member States have benefited from it
If we are to get agreement it will be better if we have agreed a direction for Europe and let that influence the deal, and get a forward perspective on a more rational way of organising the EU budget in future.
Council, Commission and Parliament should work closely together, if not always in agreement.  Europe has much to be proud of - let us show our citizens the next 50 years can be as good as the last.
Commission President José BARROSO said that the Hampton Court Summit would be an opportunity to face up to the economic and social challenges that Europe faces.
For the EPP-ED group, Hans-Gert POETTERING (DE) reminded Mr Blair it was his duty to represent all EU citizens, not just the UK.  
[Globalisation] means we are one world.  This is a spiritual, cultural, economic and moral challenge.
If we do not open our markets to their products, including agriculture, progressively, not, of course, overnight, those young people [from Morocco] will be knocking on the doors of Europe.
The leader of the Socialist group, Martin SCHULZ (PES, DE) [...] On the European social model, he warned that many so-called economists were calling for lower wages, longer working hours and fewer trade union rights as the way to boost growth.
We do not accept the destruction of the European social model, the idea that economic and technological progress leads to social progress.  We want free provision of services, but not social dumping.
Graham WATSON (UK), leader of the ALDE group, said it was sad that some people were unable to see beyond a simplistic debate between a liberal and a social Europe.
The German welfare state model no longer works. It is 'kaput'. If the EU is to properly combine reform of its economic system... to provide the wealth needed to pay for social policy, we need a common response to the common challenge [of globalisation]
For the Greens/EFA group, Monica FRASSONI (Greens/EFA, IT) said Mr Blair had once again shown off his performance skills, but she wanted to know what, other than nuclear power, Mr Blair had in mind for the energy policy.
We should promote our principles of solidarity, democracy, rights and healthcare around the world.
Francis WURTZ (FR), for the GUE/NGL group welcomed the fact that Mr Blair's speech to the Parliament in June had identified three main problems with today's European Union.  Namely, crises of confidence, a need to change a Europe that has delivered 20 million unemployed  and that a substantive debate on the future of Europe is needed.  [...] He said that it was the conviction of his group that the European social model was too precious to be tampered with. He warned MEPs that the chilly winds of the market are too cold for Europe.
Nigel FARAGE (UK), for the IND/DEM group, welcomed the European Commission's initiative to withdraw proposals for European legislation saying this was music to euro-sceptics' ears.
Irish MEP Brian CROWLEY for the UEN group [...] said that the deliberations of European leaders should be guided by the following four principles; solidarity so that the social model is protected, generosity towards the new members of the European Union, responsibility towards others and finally the capacity to implement policy.
Roger HELMER (UK), representing the non-attached (NI) Members of  Parliament, said Mr Blair had disappointed pro-Europeans by not living up to the expectations they had of his pro-European intentions when he was first elected in 1997.
Mr Blair's response to group leaders
There is a danger if citizens see globalisation as a threat, when it could really be an opportunity.  Yes, China and India are scaling up their economy in a striking way, and are competing on top-end products as well.  Other countries like Vietnam are also coming up fast.  This is a huge competitive challenge and an opportunity.  They will need financial services and technology and will start importing our goods.
Are we really incapable of modernising our social model in the way we want? No, we can do it if we listen to our people.  They are not saying they don't want Europe; they say that want Europe to answer the concerns they have on globalisation, terrorism and the environment.  Pro-Europeans must lead the case for change - it is Eurosceptics who want no change in the EU as this will allow their nationalist agenda to gain ground. Let's act together to make Europe relevant to our citizens.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:39:10 PM EST

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