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Kirkhope: To survive and prosper, Europe needs to face up to the challenges of globalisation

Speech by Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, during the Debate on Globalisation in Strasbourg

Mr President, I should like to thank the Presidents of the Council and the Commission for their statements on this fundamental issue for the future of Europe.

To survive and prosper, Europe needs to face up to the challenges of globalisation, and we must rise to these challenges and see the opportunities and not just the threats. Fulfilling the Lisbon Agenda is central to Europe's future prosperity and we need to make sure that we finally secure a deal in the World Trade talks. We need to reform the common agricultural policy and we must give a fair deal not only to our own farmers but to those in the developing world. We must push further and faster on the deregulation agenda, freeing business and industry to compete on competitive terms with China and India, and we must make real progress supporting Chancellor Merkel's efforts to create a transatlantic common market.

I welcome the President of the Commission's recent statement on globalisation in which he said that the EU's raison d'être for the 21st century is clear: "to equip Europe for a globalised world". And in order to do so, he said, we must invest in people, in growth, in jobs, in energy security, in fighting climate change and in giving consumers a fairer deal. He went on to say that protectionism cannot make Europe wealthier; protectionism would impoverish, not protect, our citizens. This is a crucial statement and one that all European governments should heed now.

Of course, in financial services and accounting, European standards are fast becoming global standards and I am proud of that. The way forward in Europe is radical reform of the European social model, increased flexibility in labour markets and further action to deregulate and reduce burdens on business.

Of course, we must also lead the way in tackling climate change, and I welcome Parliament's decision to include aviation emissions in the emissions trading scheme, another sign of our willingness to lead the global community.

In the fight against poverty, we must ensure that the programmes of the EU are credible, cost-effective and targeted. We need to enhance the trading opportunities for the developing world and make a real difference in Africa.

We should be proud of our achievements, but there are many opportunities still for us to seize.

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