UK plc frustrated at Europe’s struggle to become competitive

The president of the CBI today said British businesses are frustrated with stalled efforts to make Europe the world’s most competitive economy.

John Sunderland, also chairman of Cadbury Schweppes, addressing business leaders at the CBI’s annual conference in Birmingham, said British business supports UK membership of the European Union, but he believes this is a critical time to speak out as new EU President Jose Manuel Barroso prepares to appoint a new European Commission.

“British business is pro-European,” Sunderland said. “That is not a political view, just a statement of this country’s economic interest.

“But we would be failing in our duty if we did not speak out when policy makers endanger wealth creation and jobs. With last week’s Kok report showing insufficient progress on economic reform and a new European Commission taking shape, nobody can doubt that now is the time to tell it as it is and call for action. The vision of Europe becoming the world’s most competitive economy remains very much a distant one.

“Some national governments are dragging their feet on delivering the basic reforms needed to make Europe competitive. The outgoing European Commission – which should have championed free-market reform – appears obsessed with increasing employment and environmental legislation.”

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