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26 March 2009

EP Plenary meeting 23-26 March

Gordon Brown called for  ‘a new consensus for our times’. "Let us be honest with each other: our global economic system has not just developed but been distorted in ways that run contrary to the values we celebrate", he said.

Parliament debated the outcome of the European Council. The Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek, firmly refuted arguments that the EU was not doing enough to tackle the economic situation, highlighting the €400 billion stimulus package agreed by EU Member States. 


Better regulation was another area where the need for reform had been agreed, and here he stressed the role of Parliament in adopting future legislation on matters such as ratings agencies, solvency requirements and capital adequacy of banks.


The Council President repeatedly warned against adopting further “packages” and rejected the argument that the USA was considering new forms of direct support. “The position of the USA is different to that of the European Union since the EUR 400 billion contained in the European Economic Recovery Plan serves to multiply the automatic stabilisers which the US economy does not have”, stated Mirek Topolánek adding that it would be a mistake to adopt other financial stimuli before we can assess the efficiency of the measures already adopted.


"We need a new consensus for our times", British prime minister Gordon Brown told MEPs, mentioning the "four great challenges of globalisation": financial instability, environmental degradation, extremism and the threats it brings to security, and growing poverty in the world.


"Let us be honest with each other: our global economic system has not just developed but been distorted in ways that run contrary to the values we celebrate and uphold in every other part or our lives", said Mr Brown. "Just as globalisation has been crossing national boundaries - we know it has been crossing moral boundaries too".

He therefore proposed that Europe take a central role replacing the "Washington consensus" with "a new consensus for our times". Mr Brown called for every continent to make the changes to its banking systems, co-operate in setting global standards for financial regulation and inject resources into their economy, and also called for "the end for offshore tax havens".


Commission President Barroso underlined that the agreed programme of "ambitious regulatory reforms" will pave the way for global solutions.


“On financial regulation, the EU wants to move the frontier further: no financial product, no institution, no market, no jurisdiction should be exempted from regulation”, he said.


"We need further regulation because we need markets to function properly again, he underlined, but not regulation for the sake of regulating", he added.


"We need to infuse the global financial system with ethical values" to ensure that it serves citizens, he stressed, backing Chancellor Merkel's proposal for a sustainable growth charter.


Barroso underlined that the proposed financial market regulatory measures need to be adopted before Parliament's election recess.


Over the coming weeks the Commission will table proposals on hedge funds, private equity and executive pay. And, in time for the June European Council, the Commission will put forward a package for a new European supervisory system.


EP Press release I

Full speech Barroso

EP Press release II

Full speech Brown


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