Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2013-01-16-Speech-3-017-000"

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"Mr President, we see there is nothing to worry about! Mr Barroso told us last week – I think I can say – that the existential threat against the euro has essentially been overcome. Nothing to see here; move along – crisis over. Mr Draghi and Angela Merkel may well have committed the German taxpayer to unlimited sums of money in order to prop up the eurozone, and certainly ahead of the German elections there is perhaps not much else she could have done – and I do accept that the pressure from the markets, Mr Barroso, has eased for now. And from your perspective, Mr Barroso, and from everybody’s perspective I suppose, the champagne is still flowing, the chauffeur-driven cars are shiny, the salaries and of course the expenses are attractive, so everything is rosy in the EU garden. But I do not think we should be kidding anybody, Mr Barroso, because the fundamentals have not changed. In fact things deteriorated in 2012 – substantially. Unemployment has soared, particularly in the Mediterranean countries, with youth unemployment now up to 58% in two of those countries. Manufacturing, both in the north and south of the eurozone, is eroding with every single month that goes by, and there are the levels of human suffering that we are seeing – with pensions having been cut back, with soup kitchens growing all over the place, and with people in despair – and the prospects for 2013, particularly for the Mediterranean, are that it will be worse still. And yet what the Commission and you, Mr Barroso, from your ivory tower, are saying is ‘let them eat cake’. You are showing that the European political class are out of touch, uncaring and simply plain wrong. But I am pleased to say that in Britain there is a proper European debate that is starting, driven I suspect by the rise of UKIP in the polls, and Mr Cameron, having postponed it for a few times, will speak this Friday on the issue. He wants to renegotiate the EU’s deal; he wants us to have an à la carte menu. Well, you may give him some concessions and you may not. His real plan is of course to deflect all of this so that there is not a referendum for five years. That or not, actually the longer this debate goes on, the more likely the UK is to leave the European Union. This debate will not stop and I am pleased to say that democracy, the arguments for democracy, are now staging a fight back and I look forward to when the United Kingdom does get that referendum. And I hope that many other countries will follow our lead, including Ireland, in claiming back their rights of democracy and self-government."@en1

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