Syed Kamall: EU must stop 'navel gazing' and seize potential of global economy

While Syed Kamall admits that, 'it's a constant game of catch-up just to keep up with each emerging crisis', he says he looks forward to working on alternatives to burdensome legislation.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

10 Sep 2015

With a referendum on Britain's EU membership set to take place by 2017, Parliament's European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group chair Syed Kamall says, "the relationship between the UK and the EU needs to be clarified and debated, otherwise I believe it will remain ambiguous."

"The majority of the British people generally want to see a common market and cooperation, but they do not want to move towards an ever closer political union."

However, the British deputy also points out that "the EU faces many immediate and urgent challenges. The real challenge will be to tackle the urgent while not detracting from the necessary - the long-term actions we need to take to become generally more competitive."


"We need to focus on cutting waste and the size of the EU bureaucracy, attracting more private investment in infrastructure and in newer member states, opening up alternative sources of financing and stop the incessant navel gazing of EU leaders. Let's recognise the opportunities offered by a global economy."

"The migration crisis is perhaps the most severe challenge. While there is no easy answer, we need to distinguish between those who are seeking to move for economic reasons and those who are genuinely seeking asylum after fleeing persecution. We cannot open our doors to everyone, therefore we need a fair system that treats people with the humanity they deserve", says Kamall.

He explains that, "whatever we do will cost money, so EU member states should consider cooperating to set up centres on the other side of the Mediterranean to process asylum applications swiftly, and stopping desperate people falling into the arms of people traffickers."

"Then let us agree between member states how we can help those genuinely seeking asylum, while returning others home, where they can apply through legal migration channels."

Kamall also underlines that, "we must not forget the crisis on our eastern border and the annexation of Crimea. Nor can we assume the euro crisis is over. It's a constant game of catch-up just to keep up with each emerging crisis."

On the topic of Greece, he calls on Europe to "stop applying sticking plaster to this challenge, with bailout after bailout and political fudge after fudge."

"The EU will have to maintain these fudges until Greece either decides to leave the euro, or until northern countries admit to their taxpayers that they will forever have to pay the fiscal transfers that are common in most currency unions."

During this new parliamentary year, the ECR group will focus on "the better regulation package, which will be a measure of whether the EU is able to consider alternatives to burdensome legislation in the future, such as market-driven solutions."

"We will continue helping support a digital single market and free trade agreements, while addressing citizens' concerns."

Speaking on European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, he admits, !there is a lot that I don't agree on with him, but my personal experience of him has been constructive, and I like his sense of humour."

"I fundamentally disagree with him on issues such as his call for a European army, and I think issues like the migration crisis have been handled badly by the Commission, sapping the good will that existed between governments in April."

"Nevertheless, a lot of the mood music from the commission has been good: reducing bureaucracy, focusing on capital markets, investment, trade deals and spending on infrastructure and technology."


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