Osborne: EU must reform or face economic decline

The Chancellor has issued a warning on the need for the European Union to reform or face economic decline in a speech. He reiterated the Conservatives' vow to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership, declaring: "We can't go on like this."

European politicians 'never like lectures from London'

by - Europe Editor

It is no secret to anyone who talks to European politicians that they never like hearing lectures from London about how they ought to run their own economies or the EU.

Ironically of course the economic debate in much of Europe is moving in George Osborne's direction, but not really because of him.

European Union flag and Britain's Union flag
European politicians 'never like lectures from London' Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive

The figure he used today that Europe accounts for 7% of the world's population but 50% of the world's welfare spending is a favourite figure of Angela Merkel's in Germany - she is the one that has been lecturing Europe on this.

Since the Tories came to power in the UK they have managed to cut welfare spending by just 0.25%. In that same period the Germans have cut their welfare spending by 3.5%, so you can imagine when they are looking for lectures on this who they are listening to.

The French do know they have a problem. President Hollande said yesterday he wants to bring his economy into line with Germany - he doesn't mention copying Britain.

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Osborne: European Treaties are not fit for purpose

Chancellor George Osborne has described the EU treaties as "not for for purpose" in a speech on EU reform.

What is becoming clearer as the eurozone integration increases, is we're now at a point where we're stretching the EU institutional architecture to its limits

We risk going beyond what is legally possible or politically sustainable the EU treaties are not for for purpose. They didn't anticipate a European Union where some countries would pursue dramatically deeper integration than others

Rather than face up to truth, those in Brussels are being forced into legal gymnastics as they try to stretch the existing treaties to fit a situation they were not designed for

– George Osborne

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Pro-Euro Tories 'must vigorously make their case'

A senior Tory has called for members of his party to start "vigorously making the case" for Britain to stay in the EU, the Times reports.

Nicholas Soames said Europhile Tories "only had themselves to blame" for allowing Eurosceptic colleagues to dominate the current debate. He said:

Having won the European argument,about in the future. Pro-Europeans have only themselves to blame for being so wet in not putting the arguments forward vigorously over a period of time.

Read: Osborne to push for EU reform: 'We can't go on like this'

Osborne to push for EU reform: 'We can't go on like this'

Chancellor George Osborne will issue a warning on the need for the European Union to reform during a keynote address later today.

George Osborne will address a conference on EU reform later today. Credit: Reuters

The Chancellor will stress the Conservatives' determination to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership, declaring "We can't go on like this." Addressing a conference on EU reform, he will say:

"The biggest economic risk facing Europe doesn't come from those who want reform and renegotiation - it comes from a failure to reform and renegotiate.

"It is the status quo which condemns the people of Europe to an ongoing economic crisis and continuing decline. And so there is a simple choice for Europe: reform or decline.

"Our determination is clear: to deliver the reform, and then let the people decide."