Gordon Brown: Britain can help to forge a new Europe

From the Chancellor's speech to the CBI annual dinner in London
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The Independent Online

A Europe reformed is a Europe that can be the engine of liberalisation in the world. But that requires us to tackle Europe's most protected and distorted sector - agriculture - which could give rise to economic benefits of around €5bn euro across the EU, as well as benefiting developing countries.

And it requires Europe to champion free trade. In the 19th century, Britain pioneered free and open trade round the world. Today we must be pioneers again. Europe must take far more seriously the need for urgent progress in the Doha trade discussions. We should lead in the World Trade Organisation - not lag behind.

We should not allow trade disputes to continue interfering with such vital parts of our economies. Instead, Europe and America should patch up their trade differences, move beyond the day-to-day issues and make a greater effort to tackle the barriers to a fully open trading and investment relationship, strengthen joint arrangements to tackle competition issues and engage in dialogue about the approach to financial services regulation.

And all this puts Britain right at the heart of Europe - pressing for the greater competition and liberalisation that is essential to attain full employment and prosperity for all. Some say Europe can never reform. I reject this. Some say countries must make a choice between the US and Europe. I reject this. Europe needs an outward-looking non-isolationist America and America needs an outward-looking non-parochial Europe.

Indeed, I believe that British values - in particular our long--term commitment to enterprise, opportunity, being outward looking and open to the world, and of course demanding political accountability - can make a distinctive contribution to the development of this new Europe.

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