As you will have seen, the British Prime Minister made an important speech on the future of the EU in London on 23 January.
The PM’s speech reiterates his commitment to keeping the UK in the EU, at the heart of the Single Market, but also leading EU action on energy, climate change, development, foreign policy and other global challenges.
The speech also assesses the challenges that all of us in Europe face. Specifically, the challenges of the Eurozone crisis and the changes it is driving in Europe, Competitiveness in the face of a transformed global economy, and the gap between Europe and its peoples.
The PM proposes five principles for reform to overcome these challenges:
• Competitiveness: a serious effort to deepen the Single Market, cut red tape, open up trade and reform the EU’s institutions
• Flexibility: embracing the diversity of the EU, rather than insisting on one size fits all. He has offered some initial ideas on what that means. But we recognise that we are at the beginning of that debate, not the end.
• Power must be able to flow back to Member States, as EU leaders have previously promised: we should examine what the EU should do and should stop doing
• Democratic accountability: there has to be a bigger role for national parliaments
• Fairness: the changes brought by the Eurozone crisis must not undermine the integrity of the Single Market
These are far-reaching and complex issues for Britain and the EU. Britain wants to work these through with our EU partners. We want to work with Sweden and others to help shape the future of an open, flexible and adaptable European Union, to achieve not just a better deal for Britain, but a better deal for Europe too.