Speech to the European Convention
There has been an air of unreality about the debate on Economic Governance; perhaps a refusal to look at what is really happening to the EU.
We must be honest with ourselves. Europe has a problem. It is a low growth zone, coupled with high unemployment. Inflation may be low by historic standards, but even in a near-recession the average is still above the 2% limit set by the European Central Bank.
The Growth and Stability Pact has not delivered growth or stability. It is even criticised by its authors. The President of the Commission now calls it the Stupid Pact.
There have been calls in this debate for a working group on 'Social Europe'. That is fine if it examines matters such as the demographic time bomb in Europe - falling birth rate, ageing population, inadequate pensions, and so on. But if it becomes another means of dispensing more benefits and social rights it will make a bad economic situation even worse.