14/09/2012 Daily Politics


14/09/2012

Andrew Neil with the latest news from Westminster and Europe, including an interview with the President of the European Parliament and a guide to the European Commission.


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

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

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

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claims and a new compromise agreement system help kick-start

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business? As William and could continue their

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

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

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Will anybody else dared publish them?

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As the President of the European Commission calls for a federal

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

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latest news from Brussels and Strasbourg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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evidence that these photographs were offered to British newspapers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The World publishing those photographs of Prince Harry? If it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and respect of their readers, and publishing these voters would

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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inquiry committee think they would have been published in Britain?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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steps will give firms more flexibility and confidence to

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

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controversial parts of the Beecroft report, which talked of giving

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

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

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is no workplace dispute, and without the report being admissible

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

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

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

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also proposing to streamline employment tribunals by making it

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

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tribunal payouts in unfair dismissals, saving businesses money

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and reducing the disincentive to hiring. There are to be

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

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

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

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reforms would achieve. government has turned the rejected

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

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

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

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

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

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through settlement agreements, without expensive tribunals. We

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

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

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

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

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

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are stopping it employers from hiring people? In out member

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

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employment legislation as being a barrier to a potential employer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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been some conflicting economic indicators recently, with GDP and

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unemployment figures going in different directions, which are a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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unemployment rocketing when the minimum wage Kenyan, and the

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

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

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

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tribunal awards for unfair dismissal is going to hit

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professional workers very hard, depress the median award.

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

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

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

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The key to the word is unfair dismissal, they deserve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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people think the first thing employers are worrying about how to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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problem is always not enough customers coming into shops, that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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psychological perception. But it has been a coalition compromise,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beecroft report, this ridiculous report that employers should be

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

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

:14:46.:14:56.
:14:56.:14:57.

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

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

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

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

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

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:15:30.:15:33.

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

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

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

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Liberal Democrats would become a branch of the Labour Party and

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

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

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

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

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A on Wednesday this week the President of the European

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Parliament are with a broad majority for a European federation.

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

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

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

:17:28.:17:30.

federal Europe happened without the people of the individual nation-

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

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

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often discussing terms nobody understands. What I understand as a

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

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

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change, migration, speculation on currencies, the worldwide trade

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relations. These are dimensions beyond the capacity of a single

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

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

:18:25.:18:29.

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

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

:18:36.:18:41.

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

:18:41.:18:46.

European Parliament is whether public opinion weather is very

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

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

:18:54.:18:59.

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

:18:59.:19:04.

favour with more and deeper integration with Europe. In my

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

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

:19:12.:19:16.

The German affairs foreign minister, the Belgian affairs foreign

:19:16.:19:21.

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

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chairman to support us with a project they presented to the

:19:26.:19:30.

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

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

:19:34.:19:42.

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

:19:42.:19:46.

parliamentary elections solo and has fallen consistently below 50%?

:19:46.:19:51.

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

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of the problems of European elections is all the national

:19:54.:19:59.

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

:19:59.:20:06.

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

:20:06.:20:11.

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

:20:11.:20:16.

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

:20:16.:20:21.

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

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

:20:28.:20:32.

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

:20:32.:20:41.

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

:20:41.:20:48.

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

:20:48.:20:52.

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

:20:52.:20:57.

election campaign similar to the national election campaign. They

:20:57.:21:01.

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

:21:02.:21:07.

will increase the participation and attention to the election debate.

:21:07.:21:12.

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

:21:12.:21:18.

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

:21:18.:21:23.

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

:21:23.:21:27.

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

:21:27.:21:31.

Germany or a new socialist Government in France, all nation

:21:31.:21:36.

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

:21:36.:21:41.

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

:21:41.:21:48.

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

:21:48.:21:54.

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

:21:54.:21:59.

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

:21:59.:22:04.

Prime Minister Cameron from your country during the last 10 years

:22:04.:22:09.

decided one year after another to put more responsibilities for

:22:09.:22:13.

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

:22:13.:22:19.

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

:22:19.:22:24.

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

:22:24.:22:28.

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

:22:28.:22:33.

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

:22:33.:22:36.

the absurdity of moving the parliament between Brussels and

:22:36.:22:41.

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

:22:41.:22:47.

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

:22:47.:22:51.

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

:22:51.:23:00.

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

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

:23:05.:23:08.

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

:23:08.:23:16.

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

:23:16.:23:19.

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

:23:19.:23:24.

one institution, the European Parliament. The French are prepared

:23:24.:23:29.

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

:23:29.:23:33.

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

:23:34.:23:40.

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

:23:40.:23:45.

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

:23:45.:23:53.

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

:23:53.:23:59.

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

:23:59.:24:03.

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

:24:03.:24:09.

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

:24:09.:24:13.

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

:24:13.:24:18.

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

:24:18.:24:21.

referendum not much trumpeted by the Conservatives, because if they

:24:21.:24:25.

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

:24:25.:24:30.

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

:24:30.:24:34.

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

:24:34.:24:38.

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

:24:38.:24:44.

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

:24:44.:24:49.

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

:24:49.:24:52.

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

:24:52.:24:56.

boundary, but it was always a project conceptualise and delivered

:24:56.:25:01.

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

:25:01.:25:04.

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

:25:04.:25:09.

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

:25:09.:25:14.

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

:25:14.:25:20.

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

:25:20.:25:27.

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

:25:27.:25:31.

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

:25:31.:25:41.
:25:41.:25:42.

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

:25:42.:25:45.

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

:25:45.:25:51.

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

:25:51.:25:55.

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

:25:55.:26:00.

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

:26:00.:26:04.

You probably would it you had deeper integration. Although the

:26:04.:26:07.

Continent has been a bit more sympathetic to federal integration,

:26:07.:26:12.

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

:26:12.:26:16.

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

:26:16.:26:20.

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

:26:20.:26:26.

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

:26:26.:26:30.

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

:26:30.:26:40.
:26:40.:26:41.

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

:26:41.:26:45.

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

:26:45.:26:49.

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

:26:49.:26:53.

bang, so we are producing a programme every month called

:26:53.:26:59.

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

:26:59.:27:03.

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

:27:03.:27:09.

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

:27:09.:27:13.

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

:27:13.:27:17.

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

:27:17.:27:20.

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

:27:20.:27:26.

been taken yet. Not that that stopped MPs suggesting potential

:27:26.:27:32.

locations for a temporary parliament. Can I reassure

:27:32.:27:35.

honourable members that no decisions have been taken as yet.

:27:36.:27:40.

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

:27:40.:27:43.

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

:27:43.:27:51.

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

:27:51.:27:58.

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

:27:58.:28:00.

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

:28:00.:28:05.

achieve these necessary repairs without completely closing the

:28:05.:28:10.

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

:28:10.:28:15.

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

:28:15.:28:20.

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

:28:21.:28:25.

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

:28:25.:28:29.

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

:28:29.:28:33.

fantastic facility in east London in Hackney in the media centre

:28:33.:28:39.

which could happily house parliament in the interim. With a

:28:39.:28:43.

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

:28:43.:28:47.

the House of Commons Commission consider a temporary relocation to

:28:47.:28:55.

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

:28:55.:28:59.

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

:28:59.:29:09.
:29:09.:29:14.

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

:29:14.:29:21.

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

:29:21.:29:26.

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

:29:26.:29:32.

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

:29:32.:29:36.

Honourable Gentleman Takes this matter far more seriously. I cannot

:29:36.:29:41.

imagine the Right Honourable Lady keeps eccentric company. It is

:29:41.:29:48.

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

:29:48.:29:56.

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

:29:56.:30:00.

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

:30:00.:30:06.

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

:30:06.:30:11.

I know you were all pitching for getting this temporary parliament

:30:11.:30:16.

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

:30:16.:30:22.

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

:30:22.:30:26.

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

:30:26.:30:36.
:30:36.:30:38.

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

:30:38.:30:42.

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

:30:43.:30:49.

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

:30:49.:30:53.

will also change working practices in Parliament. Because of these

:30:53.:30:59.

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

:30:59.:31:03.

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

:31:03.:31:08.

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

:31:08.:31:13.

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

:31:13.:31:19.

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

:31:19.:31:23.

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

:31:23.:31:27.

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

:31:27.:31:33.

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

:31:33.:31:37.

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

:31:37.:31:44.

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

:31:44.:31:48.

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

:31:48.:31:51.

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

:31:51.:31:58.

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

:31:58.:32:02.

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

:32:02.:32:07.

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

:32:07.:32:11.

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

:32:11.:32:18.

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

:32:18.:32:24.

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

:32:24.:32:28.

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

:32:28.:32:32.

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

:32:32.:32:38.

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

:32:38.:32:41.

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

:32:41.:32:49.

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

:32:49.:32:57.

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

:32:57.:33:02.

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

:33:02.:33:06.

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

:33:06.:33:16.
:33:16.:33:17.

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

:33:17.:33:24.

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

:33:24.:33:34.

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

:33:34.:33:38.

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

:33:38.:33:43.

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

:33:43.:33:48.

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

:33:48.:33:51.

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

:33:51.:33:55.

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

:33:55.:33:59.

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

:33:59.:34:07.

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

:34:07.:34:13.

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

:34:13.:34:20.

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

:34:20.:34:27.

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

:34:27.:34:31.

week, members of the European Parliament have been meeting in

:34:31.:34:34.

Strasbourg for their regular session, what have they been

:34:34.:34:38.

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

:34:38.:34:48.
:34:48.:34:48.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso believes a more

:34:48.:34:54.

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

:34:54.:34:57.

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

:34:57.:35:03.

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

:35:03.:35:07.

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

:35:07.:35:11.

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

:35:11.:35:15.

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

:35:15.:35:19.

access to services like counselling and a translation. Foreign policy

:35:19.:35:25.

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

:35:25.:35:31.

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

:35:31.:35:37.

political transition move forward. In Dutch elections, voters backed

:35:37.:35:42.

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

:35:42.:35:51.

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

:35:51.:35:58.

Richard Ashworth leads the Conservative MEPs, and his opposite

:35:58.:36:03.

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

:36:03.:36:08.

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

:36:08.:36:12.

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

:36:12.:36:16.

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

:36:16.:36:20.

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

:36:20.:36:23.

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

:36:23.:36:27.

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

:36:27.:36:33.

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

:36:33.:36:39.

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

:36:39.:36:43.

there Conservatives in the coalition think there has to be a

:36:43.:36:47.

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

:36:47.:36:51.

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

:36:51.:36:55.

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

:36:55.:36:59.

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

:37:00.:37:07.

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

:37:07.:37:11.

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

:37:11.:37:16.

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

:37:17.:37:23.

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

:37:23.:37:27.

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

:37:27.:37:32.

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

:37:32.:37:36.

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

:37:36.:37:41.

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

:37:41.:37:44.

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

:37:44.:37:49.

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

:37:49.:37:53.

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

:37:53.:37:59.

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

:37:59.:38:03.

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

:38:03.:38:07.

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

:38:07.:38:12.

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

:38:12.:38:17.

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

:38:17.:38:21.

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

:38:21.:38:26.

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

:38:26.:38:30.

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

:38:30.:38:34.

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

:38:34.:38:38.

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

:38:38.:38:43.

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

:38:43.:38:47.

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

:38:47.:38:53.

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

:38:53.:38:56.

this week the European Commission unveiled its blueprint for the

:38:56.:39:00.

European banking union involving the central regulation of banks in

:39:00.:39:05.

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

:39:05.:39:10.

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

:39:10.:39:19.

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

:39:19.:39:23.

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

:39:23.:39:29.

is true that financial market meltdown may have been avoided in

:39:29.:39:34.

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

:39:34.:39:39.

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

:39:39.:39:44.

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

:39:44.:39:48.

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

:39:48.:39:53.

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

:39:53.:39:55.

address to tell members of the European Parliament of his cunning

:39:55.:40:04.

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

:40:04.:40:08.

fiscal union and the correspondent institutional mechanisms. Today the

:40:08.:40:12.

commission is presenting legislative proposals for a single

:40:12.:40:17.

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

:40:17.:40:22.

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

:40:22.:40:26.

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

:40:26.:40:31.

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

:40:31.:40:36.

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

:40:37.:40:43.

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

:40:43.:40:47.

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

:40:47.:40:49.

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

:40:49.:40:57.

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

:40:57.:41:02.

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

:41:02.:41:07.

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

:41:07.:41:10.

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

:41:10.:41:12.

state here at the European Parliament to sign up to policies

:41:12.:41:18.

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

:41:18.:41:25.

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

:41:25.:41:32.

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

:41:32.:41:39.

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

:41:39.:41:45.

to the regional authorities have. They are complaining against the

:41:46.:41:50.

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

:41:50.:41:54.

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

:41:55.:41:59.

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

:41:59.:42:05.

struggling with soaring debt and little prospect of any growth.

:42:05.:42:10.

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

:42:10.:42:14.

that the weaknesses, the deficiencies of the financial

:42:14.:42:18.

sector, cannot be dealt with fragmented national policies. We

:42:19.:42:26.

need an integrated vision to stop long journey of negotiation,

:42:26.:42:31.

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

:42:31.:42:35.

He is a classic example of something the eurozone is doing

:42:35.:42:38.

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

:42:38.:42:44.

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

:42:44.:42:48.

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

:42:48.:42:52.

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

:42:52.:42:55.

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

:42:55.:43:01.

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

:43:01.:43:04.

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

:43:04.:43:09.

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

:43:09.:43:14.

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

:43:14.:43:18.

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

:43:18.:43:22.

been affected badly by banking incompetence, so we have to

:43:22.:43:27.

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

:43:27.:43:31.

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

:43:31.:43:37.

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

:43:37.:43:41.

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

:43:41.:43:45.

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

:43:45.:43:49.

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

:43:49.:43:54.

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

:43:55.:43:58.

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

:43:58.:44:04.

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

:44:04.:44:11.

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

:44:11.:44:16.

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

:44:16.:44:20.

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

:44:20.:44:26.

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

:44:26.:44:29.

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

:44:29.:44:32.

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

:44:32.:44:38.

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

:44:38.:44:45.

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

:44:45.:44:49.

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

:44:49.:44:53.

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

:44:53.:44:57.

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

:44:57.:45:00.

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

:45:00.:45:05.

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

:45:05.:45:09.

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

:45:09.:45:13.

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

:45:13.:45:18.

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

:45:18.:45:23.

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

:45:23.:45:33.
:45:33.:45:34.

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

:45:34.:45:39.

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

:45:39.:45:44.

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

:45:44.:45:49.

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

:45:49.:45:53.

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

:45:53.:45:59.

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

:45:59.:46:04.

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

:46:04.:46:08.

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

:46:08.:46:12.

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

:46:12.:46:16.

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

:46:16.:46:22.

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

:46:22.:46:28.

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

:46:28.:46:32.

going to be responsible for the direct recapitalisation up banks.

:46:32.:46:36.

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

:46:36.:46:40.

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

:46:40.:46:45.

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

:46:46.:46:50.

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

:46:50.:46:53.

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

:46:53.:46:58.

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

:46:58.:47:04.

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

:47:04.:47:08.

consumption with the aim of ensuring EU countries cut carbon

:47:08.:47:13.

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

:47:13.:47:18.

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

:47:18.:47:23.

present a national efficiency action plan every three years with

:47:23.:47:27.

the European Commission monitoring progress. Big businesses will have

:47:27.:47:31.

to submit energy audits every four years carried out by accredited

:47:31.:47:36.

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

:47:36.:47:41.

owned buildings every year to improve energy efficiency. No doubt

:47:41.:47:46.

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

:47:46.:47:50.

obligation to ensure their customers save 1.5% on energy use

:47:50.:47:59.

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

:47:59.:48:05.

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

:48:05.:48:12.

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

:48:12.:48:18.

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

:48:18.:48:21.

directive in his role as energy efficiency rapporteur in the

:48:21.:48:28.

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

:48:28.:48:32.

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

:48:32.:48:36.

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

:48:36.:48:43.

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

:48:43.:48:53.

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

:48:53.:48:58.

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

:48:58.:49:03.

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

:49:03.:49:07.

will have greater opportunity to save energy and tableaux energy

:49:07.:49:10.

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

:49:10.:49:16.

activity in the Europe, and also investing in industrial processes

:49:16.:49:22.

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

:49:22.:49:28.

legislation which will help diminish the wealth transfer from

:49:28.:49:33.

outside Europe and bring back jobs and economic activity to Europe

:49:33.:49:38.

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

:49:38.:49:43.

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

:49:43.:49:47.

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

:49:47.:49:54.

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

:49:54.:50:00.

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

:50:00.:50:05.

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

:50:06.:50:10.

maker who tells you Europe is controlling an influence on world

:50:10.:50:16.

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

:50:16.:50:22.

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

:50:22.:50:28.

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

:50:28.:50:31.

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

:50:32.:50:38.

insulation? The detailed implementation will be decided at

:50:38.:50:45.

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

:50:45.:50:49.

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

:50:49.:50:54.

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

:50:54.:51:00.

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

:51:00.:51:05.

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

:51:05.:51:11.

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

:51:11.:51:16.

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

:51:16.:51:21.

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

:51:21.:51:26.

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

:51:26.:51:31.

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

:51:31.:51:35.

blocked legislation. But we have already lost our aluminium industry

:51:35.:51:41.

because of the extra cost in legislation. Everybody is talking

:51:41.:51:44.

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

:51:44.:51:49.

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

:51:49.:51:53.

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

:51:53.:51:58.

householders worry about most, household costs. We should be

:51:58.:52:02.

stimulating our economy with construction and green jobs. It is

:52:02.:52:12.
:52:12.:52:13.

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

:52:13.:52:17.

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

:52:17.:52:21.

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

:52:21.:52:26.

dependent on imported energy, which is becoming increasingly expensive.

:52:26.:52:29.

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

:52:29.:52:34.

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

:52:34.:52:42.

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

:52:42.:52:45.

the energy companies fail to meet these targets? What other

:52:45.:52:51.

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

:52:51.:52:58.

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

:52:58.:53:04.

saving obligation for the big companies. They will have an

:53:04.:53:10.

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

:53:10.:53:14.

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

:53:14.:53:21.

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

:53:21.:53:26.

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

:53:26.:53:31.

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

:53:31.:53:35.

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

:53:35.:53:40.

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

:53:41.:53:44.

openly with the stakeholders over the next months and then be

:53:44.:53:51.

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

:53:51.:53:56.

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

:53:56.:54:01.

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

:54:01.:54:07.

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

:54:07.:54:14.

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

:54:14.:54:20.

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

:54:20.:54:25.

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

:54:25.:54:35.
:54:35.:54:40.

Fleming with the low-down on the European Commission.

:54:40.:54:45.

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

:54:45.:54:49.

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

:54:49.:54:54.

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

:54:54.:54:59.

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

:54:59.:55:02.

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

:55:02.:55:07.

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

:55:07.:55:11.

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

:55:11.:55:15.

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

:55:15.:55:20.

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

:55:20.:55:25.

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

:55:25.:55:28.

commissioners are selected by the member states and then approved as

:55:28.:55:33.

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

:55:33.:55:38.

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

:55:38.:55:41.

with her she was finalising new pollution standards for cars and

:55:41.:55:47.

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

:55:47.:55:56.

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

:55:56.:56:01.

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

:56:01.:56:05.

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

:56:05.:56:09.

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

:56:09.:56:14.

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

:56:14.:56:19.

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

:56:19.:56:24.

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

:56:24.:56:28.

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

:56:28.:56:34.

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

:56:34.:56:38.

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

:56:38.:56:42.

multilingual process. Sometimes the commission is simply enforcing

:56:42.:56:47.

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

:56:47.:56:51.

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

:56:51.:56:57.

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

:56:58.:57:03.

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

:57:03.:57:07.

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

:57:07.:57:12.

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

:57:12.:57:17.

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

:57:17.:57:22.

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

:57:22.:57:27.

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

:57:27.:57:32.

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

:57:32.:57:37.

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

:57:37.:57:44.

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

:57:44.:57:48.

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

:57:48.:57:54.

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

:57:54.:58:01.

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

:58:01.:58:04.

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

:58:04.:58:08.

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

:58:08.:58:13.

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

:58:13.:58:19.

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

:58:19.:58:23.

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

:58:23.:58:26.

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

:58:26.:58:30.

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

:58:30.:58:37.

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

:58:37.:58:41.

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

:58:41.:58:45.

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

:58:45.:58:50.

Andrew Neil with the latest news from Westminster and Europe, including an interview with the President of the European Parliament and a guide to the European Commission.


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