Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2014-12-16-Speech-2-673-000"

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"Mr President, I would like to make the following remarks to Mr Juncker. You are here with your Commission presenting your new work plan but I can see that you have been busy with the PR consultants. You have been busy spending a pretty penny or two. You have been trying to rebrand the European Commission and you have come up with a slogan: ‘A New Start for Europe’. You could not invent it, could you? We do it every five years. We should get our money back. I even noticed on the Berlaymont Building last week a great big banner with your face on it and the rest of the Commission team – a new start for Europe under team Juncker. Well I do not know about ‘new’. This Commission has got four former Prime Ministers in it, it has got 19 former government ministers in it, it has got seven former Commissioners in it. I do not know about some bright new fresh start for Europe. It looks a bit more like the knacker’s yard for failed domestic politicians. And at the top of it, as President, we have got you. Now I do not want anybody here to think that I am questioning Mr Juncker’s competence. I am not. You are certainly competent. You are a good operator and there are 240 multinationals who all managed to avoid hundreds of millions of euro of corporation tax by paying 1% to 2% tax in Luxembourg during your term there as Prime Minister that would testify that you are certainly a more competent operator than the man that went before you. But please do not give us ‘new’. You were Prime Minister of Luxembourg for 19 years and you headed up the Eurogroup. ʽNewʼ you are not. You and this Commission, frankly, are as stale and musty as a corked bottle of wine. We are being encouraged by your sidekick, Mr Timmermans, who, by the way, today talked about the ʽcircular economyʼ. Sir, I have not got a clue what you are talking about but it sounds absolutely lovely. You told us today that you are going to adopt a minimalist approach to legislation. Again, rather like Mr Juncker, you are rather brighter, cleverer and sharper than those who have gone before you. We are not going to get from you any more proposed bans on olive oil being poured into dishes that we dip our bread into in restaurants and I suspect that you will not be updating the curvature of cucumber regulations that came in a few years ago. Minimalism is one thing, but what it fails to address is the fact that the very last time we attempted to address within the European Union how big the body of law that had already been imposed on our businesses was – that was in 2005 – it was 170 000 pages of active legislation. It is probably now a quarter of a million or perhaps even more than that. I would suggest to Mr Timmermans that what we do not need is minimalism. If Europe is to become competitive and to trade globally and competitively, what it needs is the axe. You have actually got to start getting rid of excessive regulation, particularly on the small and medium-sized enterprises, which in any free market economy could not be expected to maintain the same standards for everybody and everything as the giant multinationals. But there are two areas where minimalism will not work. One is in negotiating with the United Kingdom about immigration. Mr Juncker, you have made it clear that it is non-negotiable. The free movement of peoples is non-negotiable; the British want wholesale change. Secondly, there is Greece’s membership of the euro when it is clear for all to see that she, and everybody else, would be better off without it. I suggest that, whatever your work programme is, the next five years will actually be dominated by Greece and the euro and Britain’s membership of the European Union. I suspect that you will spent most of your time dealing with those issues."@en1

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