Nick Clegg: 'Not rational' to support Greek exit
Published: 24th May 2012 03:48:28
Greece exiting the euro is something "no rational person" should advocate and would cause "irrevocable damage", Nick Clegg is expected to say later.
In a speech in Berlin, the deputy prime minister is also likely to criticise European leaders' "fragmented" response to the eurozone crisis.
He will say the way decisions are taken is undermining public confidence.
Meanwhile, a group of Conservative MPs says the government should draw up far-reaching plans in case the euro fails.
The Free Enterprise Group said in the event of "Eurogeddon", benefits would have to be frozen and small firms made exempt from many employment regulations like the laws on unfair dismissal.
Low-paid flexi-jobs, exempt from tax and many employment regulations, should be created and the government should issue new infrastructure bonds to provide funds for capital projects such as roads or new runways, the group said.
The tree is falling, and we are pruning one leaf at a time”
Mr Clegg's speech, at an event to launch the Queen Elizabeth prize for engineering, will come hours after EU leaders said they wanted Greece to remain in the eurozone.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy told an informal EU summit that Greece should stay in but "respect its commitments".
He said vital reforms were essential for the country to overcome its economic problems.
There are fears Greece may have to exit the single currency because of its economic crisis, and the eurozone is said to be preparing for such a scenario.
Mr Clegg is due to say: "As Europeans, our response to this brewing crisis has been woefully fragmented. We have failed on a number of fronts.
"The way we take decisions is undermining public confidence. Every few weeks European leaders sit down to yet another crisis summit, where another temporary solution is agreed.
"The tree is falling, and we are pruning one leaf at a time. It is piecemeal politics; endless tactics with no strategy."
He will go on to insist the crisis must be solved "at the European level" and will stress the inter-dependence of European countries, including the UK.
He is expected to warn that the withdrawal of Greece from the euro would cause "unpredictable, irrevocable damage" to the single currency.
He will challenge "the fashionable assumption being whispered behind cupped hands" that Greece's exit could be a good thing for the rest of Europe.
"No rational person interested in the wealth and wellbeing of Europe's citizens could advocate taking such a risk: not with Greece's future, or our own," the Liberal Democrat leader will say.
What is needed to solve the crisis is either to "share common debt, or change the way money is transferred" between eurozone countries, Mr Clegg will say.
"You cannot have a monetary union in which one country saves, exports and invests and another spends, borrows and consumes without some mechanism to make it all add up."
He is expected to say "new fiscal instruments" like so called shared-debt eurobonds, as well as making the European Central Bank "a lender of last resort" are the means through which the crisis can be solved.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Nick Clegg: 'Not rational' to support Greek exit [Online] (Updated 24th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1430562/Nick-Clegg-Not-rational-to-support-Greek-exit [Accessed 1st Aug 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com