Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-03-26-Speech-3-014"

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"Mr President, I would like to thank the President-in-Office and the Commission President for their contributions today. It is quite interesting that, when we speak about the threats to growth and the economy, a lot of people fall back into their default position: you are either in favour of capitalism or against capitalism. They never see that there is a middle ground as well and an area where you can operate. There is an old saying in the investment platform: ‘When there is blood in the streets, there is money to be made.’ The reality is that the real threat to employment creation and economic growth within the European Union is not so much the subprime market crisis in America but our inability or unwillingness to take risks and be innovative in finding opportunities in these crisis areas. It is interesting that, if you look back over the last 100 years, at every stage of industrial development and at every stage of economic development either the US or the European Union has been at the core of creating a new industry, creating a new economic upturn, because of a difficulty that was perceived in some areas and was grabbed in another area. One of the successes to come out of the European Council is that the Council has seen that there are risks and dangers – whether it is climate change or the fact that innovation and technology requirements are increased or the regulatory burden upon SMEs – but there are also opportunities. By taking action now we can take the long-term view, as the Prime Minister said by using the Confucius analogy: by planting a tree, we are looking 10 years down the line. That is the real way that we can achieve true growth and development within the European Union in the short term, as well as setting solid foundations for the long term, even though some of the headlines that you read will tell you negative things. Today’s headline in one of the newspapers is about Jaguar and Land Rover being taken over by an Indian company as an example of how the economic power has shifted from the West to the East. The reality is that corporate and sovereign wealth funds are investing in industry and investing in business. We must find a way to ensure that we not only capture that wealth and those funds but we guarantee that they return dividends into our own economies by creating greater economic growth and by creating more jobs. When we speak about innovation and technology, it is important to remember that 73% of the workforce in the European Union who will be working in 2017 are already in place. But only 10% of the technology that we will be using in 2017 is in existence today. So the requirement to invest further in educating our people, upskilling them, giving them new training and new knowledge to deal with the new economies is vitally important. The last point that I would make – and Mr Schulz touched on this in a very important way – is that the success of the European Union over the last 20 years has been predicated on the twin-track approach of economic growth and social development and protection. You cannot have one without the other. We must ensure at all stages of our economic development not just that the rich get richer – that is going to happen anyway – but that there is a greater opportunity for us to show generosity and solidarity amongst our people – not just in energy markets, not just in financial markets – to guarantee that we can all benefit from the growth and the creation that have occurred."@en1

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