European Council

Posted on June 14th, 2011 in Parliamentary News

Keith Vaz (Leicester East) (Lab): The Prime Minister will recall that six months ago he and other EU leaders set out the Europe 2020 strategy as a successor to the Lisbon agenda, which was agreed in 2000. Is he confident that nothing discussed at the weekend will affect the benchmarks that were set in June? With the European Union, what is important is not just getting an agreement, but making sure that countries meet benchmarks on jobs and growth.

The Prime Minister: The right hon. Gentleman makes a good point, which is that we should not amend those benchmarks, but the Europe 2020 document is slightly disappointing, because Europe’s real problem is that it has become uncompetitive, has expensive welfare systems and overbearing pension systems and is not complete as a single market. We need a more robust conversation in Europe about how we get growth-how we reform and improve the structure of our economies to get growth. Europe 2020 is only part of that, and we should be more ambitious for next year.