Speaking at the World Economics Forum in Davos, David Cameron urged Eurozone leaders to follow Britain in “bold and decisive action” to help sure up the 17-nation bloc’s crumbling economy. He focused on the swift resolution of Greek debt, the recapitalisation of Eurozone banks, and the need to agree on new bailout fund terms to act as a firewall against further threats from spiralling sovereign debt.
He cited rising unemployment, and stalling growth as reasons for Europe’s pitiful 0.6% growth forecast for 2012 compared to China’s 8%, India’s 7%, and even Africa’s 5.5% – obviously they have further to go and growth is considerably easier at an emerging market level, but Europe’s 0.6% is not even a shoe-in, any further deteriorations could pull it further down towards contraction. He lauded his own actions in Britain through a chorus of rhetoric:
“£5.5 billion saved in the first financial year:
Welfare bills – cut.
The cost of government – cut.
Public sector pay – frozen.
The state pension age – increased.”
His proud improvements read more like punishments to the average British citizen, but he implored the Eurozone to follow suite and implement “bold action at European level.” He criticised the proposed Financial Transaction Tax – an unpopular subject following his veto at the Brussels summit in December – and plucked up some fearful figures suggesting the FTT would “reduce EU GDP by €200 billion and cost nearly 500,000 jobs.”
David Hilman from the Robin Hood Tax Campaign accused Cameron of “using dodgy statistics and bad economics to justify his opposition to an FTT that would ensure the city pays to repair the damage that is has caused.” He added “Cameron has confused the interests of the Square Mile with the interests of Britain as a whole and is turning down billions that could protect schools, hospitals and jobs.”
Cameron went on to reassert his fundamental concern that Britain remains part of the EU despite last month’s veto. He urged Euro leaders to tie Eu-rope together tighter and address the deficit between leading nation states and struggling countries; once more suggesting the idea of Euro-wide bonds, much to the dislike of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He signed off with a veritable call to arms: “we [need to] fight for our prosperity,” the prosperity he envisions however, is pre-empted by a succession of harsh austerity measures. He says “The problems we face are man-made and with bold action and real political will we can fix them.” In acknowledging that the problems are man-made yet protecting those men who made the problems, (through the FTT veto) Cameron has potentially placed himself within arm’s reach of the hypocrisy police.