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22 November 2013

Telegraph: UK would be 'shooting itself in the foot' if it left EU, says Pascal Lamy

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The former head of the World Trade Organisation told The Telegraph that only by remaining in the EU would Britain stand a chance of retaining its status as one of the architects of the Single Market.

"Having a Single Market within the EU 28 is a huge competitive advantage for the UK economic opportunities", he said. "Britons have their passions like everybody else, but overall they are rational people. So why would you rationally shoot yourself in your own foot?"

"I know from experience that they were the ones that pushed most for getting the Single Market done. Usually Brits are not philanthropists. The reason why they did it was because it was good for them. And there's still more to come - notably in services, where they have a competitive advantage and where the internal market is not more than 60pc of where it could be", he said.

Mr Lamy said Britain inside the EU would also be "good for Europe", as the country was "ahead of the curve" in services. "Tapping the EU Single Market and making it work better - we need the UK to do that, because it is good for Europe and because the UK has a know-how in services which would benefit the rest of the Continent", he said.

Mr Lamy also said that if Britain left the EU and joined the European Free Trade Association, which includes Norway and Switzerland, it would mean the UK would have "no place at the negotiating table" when it came to shaping Europe. He said Britain faced a choice between being a "designer" of Europe's future or an "environment taker".

Full article

Noting that support for Europe has historically ebbed and flowed with the economic cycle and is now at low tide, Lamy argues that the EU needs a new narrative reconciling economic efficiency with social progress. "When the cake is getting bigger, people are less reluctant to share it. When it stops growing, there's a sense of crisis amplified by the fact that Europe was long sold to citizens as a protection against a menacing outside world", he told Reuters in an interview. "Now we have to reformulate the European project", he said.

Further reporting © Reuters "Europe needs new dream to revive fortunes - Lamy"

© The Telegraph

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