Europe IN 250 words: ‘Bigger, faster & more’ for the few, or a better world for all? New Weather argues on the BBC the need for European coordination

From returning finance to useful economic and social purpose, to tackling climate change and reversing inequality, European-wide coordination is vital. The New Weather Institute argues the case here on the future of Europe on the BBC’s World Business Report.

The first 10 minutes of the programme are devoted to exploring how the fundamental challenges facing Europe have changed little since 1972 when Sicco Mansholt, then President of the European Commission, set a series of challenges facing Europe that are even more relevant today:

“Will the EEC become a powerful agent for improving living standards and opportunity in solidarity with less fortunate countries? Or will it remain a select inward-looking club of some of the world’s richest nations? Will it continue to produce ‘bigger, faster and more’ for ‘some’ to the detriment of the global environment and the welfare of the “rest”?”

The referendum debate is riddled with irony and contradiction. I’m probably not the only one to choke on hearing voices in the leave campaign, previously associated with an aggressive economic agenda, besotted with privatisation, suddenly discovering the cause of the NHS and trying to co-opt it for their campaign.  It’s similarly hard to swallow when those voices opine about sovereignty and the need to ‘take back control’ of our country, when the very same people are only to happy to give it away to the unaccountable power of footloose, global finance.  Their reality is not so much one of ‘Britain first,’ but ‘financial markets first.’ It’s world in which everything must be done to either pander or appease them.

We still live with the economic and social consequences of the exorbitant privileges given to finance, which led to the 2007-2008 crash. Boris Johnson protected the City of London and fobbed off efforts toward re-regulation. Though imperfect, European banking regulators have consistently pushed a tougher line on new checks and balances for finance than those proposed in the UK. The European Banking Authority, a new watchdog body set up in 2011 and based in London, announced that if we vote to leave the EU, it will leave London, and us to the mercy of a government in the pocket of finance.


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