14/09/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics. A Vince Cable


announces a shake-up of labour laws to make it easier for businesses to


get rid of workers they don't want. But will a cap on unfair dismissal


claims and a new compromise agreement system help kick-start


business? As William and could continue their


tour of south-east Asia, they are said to be curious about a French


magazine's publication of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.


Will anybody else dared publish them?


As the President of the European Commission calls for a federal


Europe, we launch our new feature, Politics Europe, with all the


latest news from Brussels and Strasbourg.


And could MPs be kicked out of Parliament to allow billions of


pounds worth of repairs to take place? If Parliament is going to


decant, I would like to decant to Birmingham. Why not? It is our


second city! Birmingham! We would have to go to Birmingham! Why not?


With us for the next 30 minutes, the political correspondent for the


Sun, Craig Woodhouse, and Rowenna Davis, who writes for the Guardian.


Welcome to the programme. Let kick- off with the predictable storm over


the topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, published by the


French magazine Closer. Kate and William are said to be furious


about the photos, which were taken during their holiday at a French


chateau, owned by the Queen's nephew, Lord Linley. Do we have any


evidence that these photographs were offered to British newspapers


or magazines? That is certainly what is being said, the decision


was obviously taken not to accept them. Were they offered to the Sun?


Not as far as I know, those are decisions that are taking it well


above my head. Have you heard whether any British newspapers have


been offered them? It has been reported all day. I haven't seen


any evidence, but even if they were, I don't think any British paper


would go ahead and print them. We all believe in freedom of the press,


but you only invade privacy if there is a public interest case,


and there is none here. Are there any different of The Sun -- News Of


The World publishing those photographs of Prince Harry? If it


wasn't in the public interest, there is a massive difference


between inviting members of the public to your hotel room and what


he considered to be a private holiday with no members of the


public even around. But what is the world Committee we cannot invite 20


women back to your hotel suite without it getting out? Standards


have slipped in Las Vegas! Completely. The other issue is that


France has some strong property laws. We know that they covered up


for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, we had the same thing with President


Mitterrand. They kept to love child secret for 19 years until somebody


exposed it as in the Sunday Times. Oh, that was me! She was living in


a state apartment, that made it in the public interest. But the


British press now is at a critical junction. We are that the Leveson


inquiry, we have at Hillsborough and Prince Harry, so there is a


real worry in the British press about whether they have the trust


and respect of their readers, and publishing these voters would


undermine that further. You're right about France, the penalties


are not a huge, you don't pay massive fines, you go down, but you


can take a calculation. The issue of these pictures, I would suggest,


it is highly unlikely they will be published in Britain. But the issue


for the Royal Family is they could be published in a lot of other


places around the world. That is the danger. And that is the problem


with the internet. There are no boundaries, no national boundaries


any more with the internet, no doubt a lot of people will be


saying how awful the stairs while hitting Google. Without the Leveson


inquiry committee think they would have been published in Britain?


don't think so. Kate has almost sacred status, she is not the


Prophet Mohammed, but she is heading that way! I would also say


that she will be more popular, as will the world family, after this


debacle, the public will empathise with her. Vince Cable is back in


action this morning, and a team plans to make it easier for


companies to sack or otherwise remove employees. He says the new


steps will give firms more flexibility and confidence to


manage staff and cut red tape. The package falls short of the most


controversial parts of the Beecroft report, which talked of giving


employers the right to no-fault dismissals of workers. Instead, Mr


Cable would allow buses to open talks about leaving even if there


is no workplace dispute, and without the report being admissible


in any future unfair dismissal case. The government would propose these


settlement agreements as a way of saving bosses the cost of dealing


with the tribunals by persuading staff to leave a voluntary. He is


also proposing to streamline employment tribunals by making it


easier for judges to dismiss weak cases, producing be �72,000 cap on


tribunal payouts in unfair dismissals, saving businesses money


and reducing the disincentive to hiring. There are to be


consultations in changing what is called the TUPE rules, at which to


protect an employee's terms and conditions when a business falls


under new management. This morning he explained what he hoped the


reforms would achieve. government has turned the rejected


ideas are they hire and fire culture, what we'd do what to do is


have a better balance, we want to create a balance where small


companies to have a great fear of tribunals, because they are very


long-winded and expensive, that they can deal with disputes with


the individual employees in a more practical way, through conciliation,


through settlement agreements, without expensive tribunals. We


want a proper balance, and I completely agree that we don't want


all the insecurity that comes with the hire and fire system. That was


the business secretary. With me now is Sarah Veale, from the TUC, and


John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.


What evidence do we have that any of the existing employment walls


are stopping it employers from hiring people? In out member


service, around 40% of the members who are employers often cite


employment legislation as being a barrier to a potential employer.


During these Economic times, we need to do all we can to encourage


employers to take new staff on rather than having barriers to it.


As a result of these changes, we can expect to see small and medium-


sized is that is rushing out to hire new people? It is certainly


going to make it easier. Our members cite these barriers...


will they? Only time will tell. But to make things easier now can only


be an advantage. Surely the reason people are not hiring more at the


moment isn't because of employment laws, it is to do with lack of


demand in the economy, the economy is under growing, so you don't need


to employ more people because demand isn't growing. There have


been some conflicting economic indicators recently, with GDP and


unemployment figures going in different directions, which are a


bit surprising. But to make it easier to be an employer will make


employers consider... If we can take more people on, and it is


easier to do so, led to consider it, rather than think, the economy is a


bit difficult. These are changes at the margin, they are not likely to


make much difference? I don't think they will to employers. There is no


economic argument, seriously, that bears any water, to suggest there


is more of there -- the employers are were screaming about


unemployment rocketing when the minimum wage Kenyan, and the


reverse happened. The trouble with these proposals is they will not


make any difference to business, it is not what most businesses asking


for, but they will damage some employees, and the reduction in


tribunal awards for unfair dismissal is going to hit


professional workers very hard, depress the median award.


almost nobody gets to the 72,000, fewer than 2%. The trouble is, when


you push the cab and, it depresses the medium, so middle only people


and lower earning people will in reality get less in compensation.


The key to the word is unfair dismissal, they deserve


compensation. But we don't know by how much of the reduction is going


to be. It will be quite considerable, we have had figures


floating around between 30 and 50, which if you consider that is going


to push the level of further down the stream, that is going to make


quite a difference to individuals, who have lost their jobs, they will


not be able to get references easily, the employer has done well,


and the employer should compensate according to be lost. I think the


average settlement is about �5,000 from the figures we have, so


whether the 72 is reduced to fit -- a 50% of that, I don't think it


will make a big difference. It is the perception about being taken to


an employment tribunal in the first place, which concerns many of our


members. Employers and employees have disagreements are all the time,


that is part of a free labour market. If you are showing at an


average of 5000, that may be cheap at the price! There are hardly any


dismissals, it is a minuscule number. But that is a tribunal


settlement. The cost of actually been in the court with management


time and legal representation, that is a significant figure over and


above. But it is a myth. You're looking at the wrong end of the


relationship, I did the most employers pick people on and worry


straightaway about getting rid of them -- take people on. They are


trying to ensure loyalty and productivity. It is a mistake if


people think the first thing employers are worrying about how to


sack people. I think it is more to do with a fairer tribunal, for


dissent about members are concerned about employment law in general --


40% of our members. But the numbers of claims have been going down for


the last year, this really is a myth. Out of the whole labour


market, there are very few tribunal the early stages because they are


not meritorious and they get weeded out. The fears are being pumped up,


may I say, by expensive consultants who are facing your members! If you


have got good business sense, I think you would tell those people


to clear out and managed sensibly and you will be fine. The just


seems to me that if there is a problem of perception rather than


reality, the answer is education, not legislation. As a councillor in


Peckham, talk to a lot of small business owners and I have never


had a problem being that there are too many staff selling things, the


problem is always not enough customers coming into shops, that


is the sad reality. Surely that is partly what these reforms are meant


to achieve. Nothing for point of it is, if you are members perceive


there is a problem, this is about sending a signal the same, we are


all on your side. It was a complaint that went on and on about


this under Vince Cable, this is the government same, we are trying to


listen, trying to help businesses, would have a help or not, it is the


psychological perception. But it has been a coalition compromise,


you haven't got all you wanted to. No, we're not keen on some of the


proposals in the Beecroft report, which is where some of this is


coming from, we felt that some of the proposals were going too far,


we feel that something needs to be done on the issues we are talking


about today. On a scale of 1-10, where would you rate the Vince


Cable as a business secretary? would rather not get stuck on


numbers, but I think he has been very receptive to listening to what


we have been saying, and we have to weigh up how he takes these ideas.


I think he has stood up against the Conservative backbenchers on the


Beecroft report, this ridiculous report that employers should be


able to dismiss somebody because they don't like them, I think he


has done quite well standing up against that. We would agree on


that. What do you make of this texting love affair between Vince


Cable and Ed Balls? A I think it is a fantastic but if mischief-making


by Ed Balls. Last weekend we saw him on the sofa, he was cosying up,


saying, come round mine, I will make your lasagne! Unit at fines's


political past, he has been all over the place. -- you look at have


been to's political past. It is Menzies Campbell was not too happy


about it. He attacked Vince Cable for having this kind of


relationship. There is a fear that if Vince Cable took over, the


Liberal Democrats would become a branch of the Labour Party and


there is a fear about the Liberal- Democrat identity being besmirched.


I think it is important for them to keep their options open because


they need voters and that is one thing they have not got at the


moment, they cannot shut off any avenues. Thank you very much.


A on Wednesday this week the President of the European


Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, made what was grandly titled a


state of the union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.


He told MEPs Europe should become a federation of nation states in


order to face the challenges of the 21st century. After his speech I


spoke to the President of the European Parliament, the German MEP


Martin Schulz, and started asking him if there was a majority for the


federal Europe. Perhaps more people in the European Parliament are in


favour and in some of the member states. The members of the European


Parliament are with a broad majority for a European federation.


I found the description that we need a federation of nation states,


I would go a little bit further than he did today. We need a kind


of political union, which is a real European Federation of. Could a


federal Europe happened without the people of the individual nation-


states being consulted? We must win the trust and the confidence of


people to create a political union by explaining what we mean. We are


often discussing terms nobody understands. What I understand as a


federal union, a political union in Europe. The single states are not


able to manage some of the issues in the 21st century like climate


change, migration, speculation on currencies, the worldwide trade


relations. These are dimensions beyond the capacity of a single


member state of the European Union to solve it alone. Exactly for this


and these areas we need a strong, united Europe with common


institutions. All the other things we can easily manage on the level


of the national state. You say there is a big majority tea in the


European Parliament, does that not illustrate cat out of touch the


European Parliament is whether public opinion weather is very


little evidence that the people of Europe want a federal union?


should not mix the public opinion in your country with the public


opinion in other countries. Other countries have a high majority in


favour with more and deeper integration with Europe. In my


country all the political parties, the right-wing parties and the


left-wing parties, are in favour of the deepening of the European Union.


The German affairs foreign minister, the Belgian affairs foreign


minister and the Spanish minister came to the conference of the group


chairman to support us with a project they presented to the


European Parliament for more and a deeper integrated Europe. If there


is such a public clamour for a federal Europe and much deeper


integration, if that is the case, why is turnout for the European


parliamentary elections solo and has fallen consistently below 50%?


Half the people of Europe do not even bother to vote for you. Why on


of the problems of European elections is all the national


parties, including my own party, consider the European election as


an instrument of the acting Government. The second point is a


lot of people believe the European Parliament has a low influence on


law-making in Europe, one of the biggest misunderstandings in public


life in Europe. But we are on the way to change this. Mr Barroso


explained it twice in his speech. The next commission's President, on


the basis of the Lisbon Treaty, will be elected by the European


Parliament, and the big political party, all the parties, will


present leaders for the whole of Europe with a goal and they will


become the next president of the European Commission and we have an


election campaign similar to the national election campaign. They


will be running together to get a majority in parliament and that


will increase the participation and attention to the election debate.


We will see if that test comes true and we will see what the turnout is


comes the European elections. Is it fair at a time when governments all


over Europe are having to tighten their belts and take difficult,


public spending cuts, whether it is a Christian Democrat coalition in


Germany or a new socialist Government in France, all nation


states are having to do it, that the European Commission should


propose a 7% increase in the European Union's budget? Is that


fair? Do you know why the commission proposed the 7% more?


The commission always proposes more in every Budget. Therefore I will


explain it to you. The heads of states in Government, including


Prime Minister Cameron from your country during the last 10 years


decided one year after another to put more responsibilities for


international co-operation, for climate change, for research and


development, on the level of the European Union. Now the commission


did nothing to count how much money we need to fulfil what their heads


of states and Government, Cameron included, promised to the outside


world. One fair deal to the European taxpayer would be to end


the absurdity of moving the parliament between Brussels and


Strasbourg every month. Do you think that is ever going to happen?


It costs �150 million a year. Thursday I disagree, this is a


figure you mention, but I have other figures. How much does it


cost? Secondly about the seats of the institutions, if the European


Parliament would decide, we would have one single seat. We are not a


federal state because we are a union of several states, sovereign


states, who decide about the seat of the institution and they insist


a second country contributed to the European budget and they have only


one institution, the European Parliament. The French are prepared


to give up the seat of the European Parliament here. The Germans


accepted the move of the central bank from Strasbourg to Frankfurt.


This is a debate I have always to answer. The seat of the European


Parliament in Strasbourg, we have not got two seats, but we also work


in Brussels. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. The President of the


European Parliament. If we have got Jose Manuel Barroso talking about a


federal Europe and we have had Martin Schulz St there is a big


majority for that in the European Parliament, and Angela Merkel and


Francois Hollande are not hostile to the idea, it means we are going


to have a referendum? Absolutely it does because we have got a


referendum not much trumpeted by the Conservatives, because if they


do propose anything that would involve a transfer of power, then


we would have to have a referendum. That plays into David Cameron's


hands because he does not have to come up with the timing or the


question himself. It is a very thorny issue on his backbenches.


is not quite clear whether he wants a referendum. No, it is not, but


the people of Britain deserve one. The European Union was a good idea


in theory and there are lots of issues we have to solve cross


boundary, but it was always a project conceptualise and delivered


by elites. He was out of touch with the people of those individual


countries who may not want a federal system because it feels far


too far away from them. Most people in this country do not know who


their MEPs are and that is a travesty. Do you know who you're as


is? We have got eight London-wide. We do not have them individually.


could not list their names. Do you know them? Now, I do not. I thought


he was incredibly out of touch. We have seen people protesting in


Greece, Spain and Italy saying no to the 4th right. If you had a vote


now and you were to ask people should we stay in the European as


it is, or should we leave? You would get a majority, probably, who


would say it we stay in. But if the choice was do we move to a federal


Europe or come out? You would probably get a vote to come out.


You probably would it you had deeper integration. Although the


Continent has been a bit more sympathetic to federal integration,


I am not convinced they would want deeper integration than they have


got already. We have got a generation of young people who have


had no experience of the war, the motivation of this, and you have


got incredibly high unemployment. Big dipper cent increase and 20% in


Spain and the next generation will be a lot more sceptical about


integration. -- 50% in Greece. think you put this to the people


across Europe and most people would say no and where is the European


dream then? We shall see because Europe is back on the agenda with a


bang, so we are producing a programme every month called


Politics Europe. It starts at 12:30pm on this programme.


Parliament may look in good nick from the outside, but yesterday MPs


heard they might have to vacate the Palace of Westminster while at


billion pounds worth of repairs is carried out to the building. The


Liberal Democrat MP John Thurso who speaks for the House of Commons


Commission who oversees the running of the Palace said no decision had


been taken yet. Not that that stopped MPs suggesting potential


locations for a temporary parliament. Can I reassure


honourable members that no decisions have been taken as yet.


Such a project will be a major undertaking and a final decision


could not be taken for some time and will probably be a matter for


both houses. If Parliament is going to decant, it decants to Birmingham.


Why not? It is our second city. Would the Honourable Member


consider the September sittings are a significant barrier to be able to


achieve these necessary repairs without completely closing the


parliament? We are into something of a different magnitude. There is


already estimated to be �1 billion of backlog and these are not


contracts of 10 or 11 weeks, they are seriously big contracts. All


options to ensure best value for the taxpayer must be looked at.


the House of Commons Commission gets its skates on, we have a


fantastic facility in east London in Hackney in the media centre


which could happily house parliament in the interim. With a


seven-minute shackled to St Pancras, excellent transport links, would


the House of Commons Commission consider a temporary relocation to


the East? The answer on asbestos is much too complacent. I think it is


incredible we have been brought back here went every day I go in


two office and I meet many white coats wearing protective clothing...


And, Mr Speaker, protective gas masks. We have got staff in this


building wandering around and we have had reports going back to 2005


on the dangers of asbestos in this building. I would suggest the


Honourable Gentleman Takes this matter far more seriously. I cannot


imagine the Right Honourable Lady keeps eccentric company. It is


quite beyond my imagination. have been joined by one of the MPs,


Meg Hillier. Have you seen any of Ann Clwyd's men in white coats?


but I have had a big, bad leak in my office, so there are serious


issues. Lots of people say that toilers do not work properly either.


I know you were all pitching for getting this temporary parliament


in your own constituency, whether it is Birmingham or in the east...


It is very handy for you. It is not handy for me, I do not think that


is the top consideration, even though it should be! We are told


you are going to move to the Q E I think that might be trickier than


people suggest. But there is a serious point, we have a modern


building down the road in Stratfield -- Stratford, I think it


will also change working practices in Parliament. Because of these


problems of asbestos, mice, it belongs to the public, it should be


maintained, we don't have proper Wi-Fi axis, mobile phones don't


work half the time. I think it is time to modernise the way be work.


Some of my colleagues may not agree! With the Sunday Times first


broke the story, there was talk of building a huge marquee in the


shadow of Big Ben. It is that a possibility? Can you imagine what


the security guards would think of that! I am not sure that would go


down very well! But you have this huge building, the Olympic legacy,


I knew you would love it to go east, it made to Parliament good, but you


have portcullis House, this whole area is covered by observers of


Parliament, they can't move. The it is a series point, and there are


lot of us who don't have offices in that part of the building who don't


have to move at the same time. We have modern ways of working, I have


calls on a spider phone, video conferencing, Skype, we don't all


lead to travel quite as much. So it could modernise the way MPs work.


We are out in our constituencies a lot, the business-to-business staff


in Parliament could be done in a different way. But a billion pounds


to renovate, this could be the pump primer you were looking for a!


is interesting, because when I have been talking to people about this,


it is such a huge amount of money, it does seem like fiddling while


Rome burns. But it is a national monument, it is an iconic building


around the world, it is what illustrate the UK. In does belong


to the people, but it is not done, up it will get worse. Will we be


the last generation are custodians -- of custodian to leave it to rot?


We could make some revenue, the Speaker has been looking into that


because it is so expensive to run it. But these figures have to be


look but -- looked out. Not quite as bad as the Scottish parliament.


What would you do? I don't know, I like the idea of go to East London


and reinstalling the game's lanes of. Imagine the public outcry!


could go on a five-year tour around Britain. It would cost us a fortune,


and we can say to the Europeans, we can do it as well as you can.


would move up north. I think it is a fantastic opportunity to end what


people see as a London centric politics, which is a reason for


disillusionment in this country. Whenever in terms have to go to


parliament, only people in London get to stay in the City, other


people have to travel. If you move parliament up, maybe MPs... Medeva


will have a rotating parliament! may never come back if it moves up


north! Anywhere, it is just gone and a half past 12, time to say


goodbye to our guests, Craig Woodhouse and Rowenna Davis. This


week, members of the European Parliament have been meeting in


Strasbourg for their regular session, what have they been


getting up to and what else has been happening in Europe? Here is


European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso believes a more


Europe, not less is the answer to the financial crisis. He told MEPs


he didn't want a European superstate, although to critics


that is exactly what it sounded like. What would be to move to what


a federation of nation states, this is what we need. Victims of crime


should have the same rights wherever they are the EU, according


to MEPs. They passed a directive which will see victims are given


access to services like counselling and a translation. Foreign policy


chief Cathy Ashton defended Europe's handling of the crisis in


Syria, saying there were no easy answers. We need to see this


political transition move forward. In Dutch elections, voters backed


pro-European parties come with a man who called for the Netherlands


to leave the European currency With us for next 30 minutes,


Richard Ashworth leads the Conservative MEPs, and his opposite


number, the Labour MEP Glenis Willmott. Let's just take a look at


the story which has been developing all week, talk of a federal Europe,


talk of the treaty changes. Are we heading for another treaty change?


I don't think there is any doubt, if we are going to have the changes


we need in the euro-zone to deal with the crisis, there will be some


agree to changes in the months and years to come, but we don't know


how they affect us. We need to see what they are before we get


concerned about it. If they are treated changes, inevitably they


will involve extra powers moving to the centre. As I understand it,


there Conservatives in the coalition think there has to be a


referendum if there is any of that. I think Barroso's analysis was


right when said the problem is the architecture, which is not fit for


purpose. I agree with that, it does mean a treaty change somewhere


along the horizon, that doesn't mean a redefinition of the right


and positions of those 10 nations who were not men - but -- members


of the euro-zone. Ultimate that probably is the time for the


referendum will stop how seriously do we take the talk of a federal


Europe? We heard of Mr Bryce to talk about it. I spoke to the head


of parliament, he said there was its huge majority for a federal


Europe, Angela Merkel is meant to be sympathetic. How seriously


should we take it? I think it is all hot air. I think it was empty


rhetoric. He said a federal to please some people, nation states


to please other people. Would you should have been talking about is


how do we get jobs and growth, how do we get economic recovery in the


euro-zone and throughout Europe. That is what he didn't do. We need


to know what our priorities are. causes Tory Euro-sceptics to have


the papers, the thought of federal Europe, should they take it


seriously? It is time to sit down and say, what does Federation been


to you and me? A federation of businesses, or a federal government


like in the US? What we have said is that those euro-zone nations,


you must concentrate more powers in the centre if you're going to make


monetary union work. Is that federalism? Then probably that is


what they need to do. We have chosen not to. It has huge


implications for us, if the euro zone is the ever closer union,


although we're not going to be part of that, probably, it still affects


us. We need to know what the proposals are, it is really a big


decision we have got to make. What sort of Europe do we want, what is


the Europe of the future? We have plenty to talk about. For example,


this week the European Commission unveiled its blueprint for the


European banking union involving the central regulation of banks in


the euro-zone. A Briton has been warned to tread carefully by a


senior British MEP, he says that a repeat of last year's beat her by


the government could backfire. -- last year's veto.


So the summer is over but the euro- zone crisis still is a crisis. It


is true that financial market meltdown may have been avoided in


countries like Spain, thanks to the action of the man who heads the ECB


saying he would do whatever it takes to protect the euro. If that


was planned a for saving the euro, another European political because


it has been in town to announce his planned for stopping Europe's banks


going under. Jose Manuel Barroso reduced his State of the Union


address to tell members of the European Parliament of his cunning


plan. We must complete economic and monetary union. We must create a


fiscal union and the correspondent institutional mechanisms. Today the


commission is presenting legislative proposals for a single


European supervisory mechanism for the euro-zone. This is the


stepping-stone to the banking union. 6000 banks across Europe could end


up being controlled by the European Central Bank. With the power to


shut down any euro-zone operation that runs into trouble. Attractive


-- drastic but necessary step, they say, but there are fears this could


have -- harm the interests of the city of the London. They rise and


difficult negotiations in the coming months, and that we have to


make sure that we have to get the tone of those negotiations are


right. To say we are going to walk away from the table and exercise a


veto, in a stroppy way, is absolutely not the way to go.


the Chancellor likes the idea of a single regulator for the banks in


the 17 euro-zone countries, but he has to persuade the other member


state here at the European Parliament to sign up to policies


that will not have a negative impact on Britain's banking system.


Last year's Biedermann make those negotiations harder. -- last year's


beater. Not everyone is happy to have all German banks regulated.


Germany we have a problem with an hour regional banks, which belonged


to the regional authorities have. They are complaining against the


idea that they should pay for the losses of big private banks like


Deutsche Bank. We must find a solution for them and I'm sure we


will. But time is of the essence as some are eurozone countries are


struggling with soaring debt and little prospect of any growth.


of the lessons that we have to learn out of the current crisis is


that the weaknesses, the deficiencies of the financial


sector, cannot be dealt with fragmented national policies. We


need an integrated vision to stop long journey of negotiation,


similar to the journey for Europe's MPs on their way back to Brussels.


He is a classic example of something the eurozone is doing


which will have implications for us. The British government seems to


welcome the spankingly Union for the euro-zone. But it doesn't have


the potential to be dangerous, does it? We have to make sure our


interests are maintained. We don't do that by storming out of meetings


as happened in December. We need to be at the table to make sure that


any new regulations or anything we are doing in terms of banking has


British interests at heart, we to be at the table, shaping those


discussions. Since we are not joining the party, why would the


euro-zone countries take any notice of last? Let's get back to basics


on this, millions of savers and every taxpayer across Europe has


been affected badly by banking incompetence, so we have to


regulate and control the industry. The industry is a pan-European


industry and therefore does need pan-European legislation. We have


already got legislation in place, which controls how banks operate,


and we have the European banking authority here in London. So these


things have to be made to work, but make a mistake, this has not an


excuse for it to spill over into the federal Europe, the integration


or whatever you would like to call it. For speak up banking union, a


simple banking regulatory authority, as if we could do it like falling


off a lock. They refer to an entirely different set of values


and attitudes of the German banks, owned by state governments, look at


those in Spain, they are totally different. Are we sure that is


going to happen this quickly? going to have to happen, because


millions of savers have got hurt, you cannot have that going on.


Where Borisov it missed the opportunity is that the UK is seen


to be the cause of the problem in Europe. It has got to communicate


with voters that is not to cause, it is the solution. He didn't get


that message through. Our banks operate in Europe, they lend


billions to French and German banks, who then lend it onto the Club Med


countries, which is keeping some people awake at night, but whatever


happens, we will have to follow these banking rules to do business


in the euro-zone. There is no doubt, we have seen that would have


happened in the euro-zone has a massive impact here in the UK --


whatever happens. That is what we need to be in there to make sure


that any regulation there comes forward, we are happy with. Can we


stop this banking union if its regulations are, we believe,


harmful to our banking system, we are the biggest banking centre by


All the while it is the European Central Bank, that is a matter for


those who wish to participate. If it became the European Commission


doing it, that has got deeper consequences. This is the thin end


of the wedge with so many issues, talking about euro-zone nations


working closely together. What would be the impact on that on the


interests of nations like Britain, Sweden, Denmark who do not want to


join the euro-zone, but who fully wish to participate in the single


market and wish to participate in things like the banking sector?


These are the answers they have to come up with now because it is


important and that will be in the treaty change. It is not a full


banking union. There will be a common Deposit guarantee scheme for


customers in banks, that will not be common. The ECB is still not


going to be responsible for the direct recapitalisation up banks.


These are features of our banking union in the UK are the United


States. We would like to see a guarantee scheme for people


depositing money in banks. Germans would not. But we would and


my party certainly would. We need to push forward with things, but we


need to look at the proposals. We do not know what the final


proposals are going to be. We will keep an eye on it in the weeks


ahead. This weekend, MEPs voted through new rules on energy


consumption with the aim of ensuring EU countries cut carbon


emissions by 20% by the year 2020. It is called the Energy Efficiency


Directive, so what does it involve? It requires member-states to


present a national efficiency action plan every three years with


the European Commission monitoring progress. Big businesses will have


to submit energy audits every four years carried out by accredited


experts. Central governments will be told to renovate 3% of state


owned buildings every year to improve energy efficiency. No doubt


the House of Commons will benefit. Energy companies will have a new


obligation to ensure their customers save 1.5% on energy use


each year from 2014. Those behind this directive claim that the


legislation will boost the UK's economy by 34 billion euros and


increase employment by 400,000. Well, we are joined from Luxembourg


by the Green MEP a Claude Turmes who helped draw up his new


directive in his role as energy efficiency rapporteur in the


European Parliament. Welcome to the Daily Politics. 34 billion euros


booze, 400,000 new jobs. Does that take into account the cost of doing


this and the loss of jobs because European business will be less


competitive? The loss of jobs will happen in Russia and in other


places. Europe will by much less oil and gas and maybe some jobs,


but the wells of the oligarchs will diminish. But, frankly speaking, I


do not care about that. I care about the citizens in Europe who


will have greater opportunity to save energy and tableaux energy


bills and what is of interest to me is creating jobs and economic


activity in the Europe, and also investing in industrial processes


in Europe which help us to be competitive. This is an anti-crisis


legislation which will help diminish the wealth transfer from


outside Europe and bring back jobs and economic activity to Europe


whilst also being economically and climate friendly. The one thing you


it is not very good at is creating jobs, particularly for young people.


A lot of these measures will make it more expensive to do business in


Europe. Why will that help job creation? Sorry, that is really


nonsense. When you consume less energy, you have low energy costs.


We are in the age of higher oil prices. Do not believe any policy-


maker who tells you Europe is controlling an influence on world


prices. We do not and we have very little grip on the prize, so where


we can act is to bring in better services to the citizens and to the


energy consumers and that is all about this directive. Who is going


to pay for all of this? Who is going to pay for the new


insulation? The detailed implementation will be decided at


national level. In the UK you have an existing regime, on energy-


saving obligations, and the British Government will have to be more


ambitious in its energy-saving obligation schemes. It is power


companies, gas companies, who will be the Investment and that will


have some consequences on the bills, but the money which we invest will


be much lower than the benefits we get from reduced energy consumption,


which then diminishes also the total cost for energy, both for the


citizens and businesses. So stay with us. Where are you on this?


agree, I think he is absolutely right. We were disappointed we did


not get mandatory targets for this, partly because our own Government


blocked legislation. But we have already lost our aluminium industry


because of the extra cost in legislation. Everybody is talking


about the need to rebalance the British economy, but you are making


it more expensive to be manufactured in Britain. Which? Did


a survey and this is the one thing in terms of financial issues that


householders worry about most, household costs. We should be


stimulating our economy with construction and green jobs. It is


a win-win situation. Where are you on this? I am not coming from the


climate change angle, but I am coming from the competitiveness of


the European economy. One of the witnesses is we are far too


dependent on imported energy, which is becoming increasingly expensive.


We have to learn to generate our own and be more efficient in the


way we are using it and these are sensible suggestions. Claude Turmes,


let me come back to you. Are you still with us? Yes. What happens if


the energy companies fail to meet these targets? What other


sanctions? The sanctions will be imposed at national level, so back


again to the British system where the British system is an energy-


saving obligation for the big companies. They will have an


obligation to save a certain amount of energy with the British energy


consumers. If they do not comply, they will pay a penalty and this


penalty will be fixed by the British Government. So you're and


what we have done is a framework directive, so we give the


orientations, and it is not good if we from Brussels intervened too


much in every detail, so now we have given a clear mandate to the


British Government to act and the details will have to be discussed


openly with the stakeholders over the next months and then be


implemented over the next six or seven years. Thank you for coming


on live from Luxembourg and explaining that to us. It was my


pleasure and maybe as a last word this is his door up because also


Japan has decided to get away from nuclear and France closes down his


nuclear reactor, so this is a step change. Clearly you have something


to celebrate. Go and have a glass of carrot juice. Now for the first


in our guidelines as to how the European Union works. Here is Adam


Fleming with the low-down on the European Commission.


The EU's glass-walled engine room, home to the commission. The people


who work in this building see themselves as the guardians of the


European ideal, the keepers of the EU flames. All the power lies on


the 30th floor, so they are not that superstitious. The reason this


floor is so important is because the commission is the only part of


the EU that has got the power to bring forward new legislation. You


will find the President and his 26 commissioners up here, one from


each member state. Each one is responsible for a different policy


area. Every Wednesday, they meet in there. The President is elected by


national leaders and he is serving his second four-year term. His


commissioners are selected by the member states and then approved as


a group by the European Parliament. This is one of them. She is Danish


and responsible for policies on climate change. When we caught up


with her she was finalising new pollution standards for cars and


vans. Is this a typical day questor Mark yes, there is no such as Fang


as a typical day, but it is a busy day. As she meets and greets the


great and good, she is surrounded by her political advisers. Then it


is often a news conference. The commission has been accused of


being overly powerful, but the system has been reformed to make it


appear more or Open. Do you feel you have got quite a lot of power?


Yes, because it is our job to present the proposals. But what is


overlooked is we do not have total powers. I can present this proposal,


but it will not be law in Europe until the governments in the


European Parliament basically have nodded to theirs. All of that is


supported by 30,000 civil servants, recruited through a gruelling


multilingual process. Sometimes the commission is simply enforcing


existing rules. For example the import and export of step ladders.


It is not all high politics around here, you know.


Glad he got that through health and safety! We do not elect these


commissioners. We have no idea who they are. It is your job to hold


them to hold them to democratic scrutiny and account. Are you doing


that? We do, but they do not make the decisions, they come forward


with proposals. But it is people like us to change the legislation


and shake the legislation and we agree with are cancelled. You do


not have the power to propose legislation? No, we do not, they


have the right to propose which is under the direction of the council


which says, this is the direction we want to go in. It is analogous


to a board of a company. The executive team work out the


proposition and we are there to hold it to account. We can amend


and we can change and we can reject as well and we do. Why don't we get


a chance to elect the President of the Commission? That is the system


a whether you like it or not. I think there are too many


commissionaires, but that is for another day. But I would like to


see a bit more transparency in the council. Jose Manuel Barroso has


come a few times saying he is fed up. The leaders of the countries.


He has been complaining they say one thing in Brussels and go back


to their nation-state and says something different. I want to know


what they are saying. Politicians saying two different things, or who


would have thought that? How can that happen? We would have three


elected bodies claiming three elected mandate, no, we are there


to hold them to account and that is what we are doing. We are grateful


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