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Liberal Democrat News 13th January 2012

January 13, 2012 1:09 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Europe must stay united - Clegg

Leading Government Ministers, Party Leaders and European Commissioners from Liberal Democratic parties across Europe met in London on Monday at the invitation of the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who asserted the importance of European countries working together.
In a statement following the event, the participants reiterated their view that resolving the European economic crisis is the urgent priority. "This clearly requires greater fiscal coordination, discipline and solidarity. But our problems cannot be solved through austerity alone. Unless we can tackle another underlying cause of the crisis - Europe's lack of global competitiveness - this crisis will be the first of many.

"…the Single Market Programme of the 80s and 90s was a truly remarkable liberal achievement, tearing down trade barriers within Europe and unlocking unprecedented levels of new jobs, growth and prosperity. We need to build on the progress made to date, in particular through Mario Monti's 2010 report on the Single Market and the Commission's Single Market Act, to recapture this level of ambition.

"We therefore call on all European leaders and institutions to use the January 2012 European Council meeting to kick start and drive forward an urgent and ambitious plan for jobs and growth in Europe."

Nick Clegg was unequivocal: "We can only address these problems by pulling together. The one lesson we have learnt over and over again in Europe, to our cost, is that we are stronger when we are together and weaker when we are apart.

"It is immensely important to work as liberals, in all our different countries, in all our different ways, to promote unity over disunity and to promote co-operation rather than needless rivalry and isolation."

President of ELDR and co-host of the event, Sir Graham Watson said the meeting was both constructive and impressive: "Three prime ministers, five deputy prime ministers, numerous government ministers, four EU Commissioners - and ten hours of talks.

"We noted how the EU is currently dominated by a centre right government (the European People's Party) which is failing."

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