» Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Letter to Swedish Prime Minister

The Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister had written to Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt in advance of the EU Council meeting at the end of this week in Brussels. The two Prime Ministers also spoke this afternoon and agreed that the issues of employment and the wider economic environment should be discussed at Brussels.

The letter outlined the six central priorities for the European economy; first, to maintain the stimulus programme until the recovery was secured. Coordinated exit strategies needed to be planned, but growth and jobs should not be put at risk by a premature withdrawal of the stimulus measures. Second, Europe was focused on creating jobs and skilling our workforce for the future. The target was to create ten million new jobs by 2014. Third, we needed to support the sectors that would deliver future growth: low carbon technologies, advanced manufacturing and public/private partnerships. Fourth, we needed to support Europe’s businesses by removing remaining barriers to the single market and reducing burdens on businesses by 2012. Fifth, we needed faster progress in opening up the global markets to trade, which meant continuing to work for the completion of the Doha Round in 2010. Finally, we needed to go further in strengthening our banking system, building on the progress made at the G20 in Pittsburgh where Europe led the global effort to agree new global rules.

The letter had been sent to the Prime Minister Reinfeldt in his capacity as President of the European Council and had also been sent to the Prime Minister’s counterparts in Europe.

Asked if the letter mentioned the new role of the President of the EU, the PMS said no; it focused on what the Prime Minister considered to be one of the important issues facing Europe, which was how we dealt with sustainable and balanced growth. Prime Minister Reinfeldt agreed that it was important that this subject should be on the agenda at Brussels this week.

Asked if the issue of the EU Presidency came up during the Prime Minister’s conversation with Prime Minister Reinfeldt, the PMS said that the purpose of the conversation was to ensure that the subjects of the economic environment and growth and employment were on the agenda.

Asked if the Prime Minister had been concerned that these issues wouldn’t be on the agenda, the PMS said that the issues of the economy and employment had not specifically been on the agenda. The conversation that took place today between the two Prime Ministers was a good opportunity to agree on what should explicitly be discussed in Brussels.

Asked if the role of President as set out in the Lisbon Treaty was a traffic-stopping role or a chairmanic role, the PMS said that the Treaty envisaged a role that was partly chairmanical , given that the individual in question would chair the Council at least four times a year. However, there were provisions for a much wider representational role, which was something that the Foreign Secretary and others had been commenting on in terms of the types of candidature.

Asked why the Prime Minister was supporting a hypothetical candidacy, the PMS said that it was partly because there was so much interest in the potential candidacy of Tony Blair that it was the right thing to do to give a sense of the Prime Minister’s position. There was a lot of interest and if asked a direct question about Tony Blair’s candidacy then the Prime Minister felt it right to express his view.

Put that David Miliband had been lobbying in support of Tony Blair’s candidacy whilst in Luxembourg this week, the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary had talked about the kind of individual he thought would be right for the role, but there were still some issues to resolve, such as the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and whether or not Tony Blair wanted to be a candidate.

Asked what would be on the agenda at the EU meeting this week, the PMS said that they would discuss climate finance, institutional issues and, following the conversation between the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister Reinfeldt, the economic recovery, growth and employment.

Asked how many more EU meetings there would be this year, the PMS said there would be one in December and then a possible one-day meeting.

Asked if the Prime Minister would support a one-day meeting, the PMS said that the Prime Minister thought we should wait and see what progress was made this week, and if there was any business left to deal with then we would take part in a one-day EU Council.

original source.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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