By Simon Miller
The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has described the proposed introduction of a financial transaction tax in Europe as “madness”.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Cameron said that leaders were still doing things in the EU to make things harder for themselves.
Although the financial sector should pay its share, Cameron added: “A financial transaction tax could cost 500,000 jobs and force 90% of markets away from the EU. To be considering this right now is madness.”
The prime minister said that Britain had an unashamedly pro-business agenda which , while being fiscal conservatives were monetary radicals and called for companies to invest in Britain, claiming that his government had been making bold actions to bring down the deficit whilst promoting growth.
Cameron added that the need for bold action was as equally great in Europe and that “the Lisbon strategy has failed to deliver reforms” needed with the single market remaining “incomplete”.
“This is a time to show the leadership our people are demanding. Tinkering here and there and hoping we’ll drift to a solution simply won’t cut it any more. This is a time for boldness not caution. Boldness in what we do nationally – and together as a continent," he said.
The prime minister explained that, in the name of social protection, the EU has promoted unnecessary measures that impose burdens on businesses and governments, and can destroy jobs.
Cameron added: “We can’t go on like this. That is why Britain has been arguing for a pro-business agenda in Europe. We need to be bolder still. Here’s the checklist. All proposed EU measures tested for their impact on growth. A target to reduce the overall burden of EU regulation."
“A new proportionality test to prevent needless barriers to trade in services and slash the number of regulated professions in Europe. The truth is we can’t afford to wait any longer," he continued.
The prime minster also defended his actions in walking away from the 9 December 2011 talks pointing out that single currencies can work citing the US and UK. However, he said that the structures that are need, such as a central bank that can stand behind a currency, weren’t there.
He added that there were no safeguards for countries outside the euro but inside the EU, and pledged that Britain would no walk away from the EU.
“We want Europe to be a success not only as an economic force but also as a political force. The problems we face are man-made but we can fix them,” Cameron said.