Thursday, November 19, 2009

Never let a crisis go to waste

I was in London on Monday speaking at a TUC event on the economic crisis. Alongside Larry Elliott of the Guardian, (Lord Professor) Richard Layard from LSE and Andrew Simms of the New Economic Foundation I spoke of how the present economic situation offers a huge opportunity to change our world for the better.

I think President Obama’s Chief of Staff said “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Now is an opportunity to clear up some of the mess created by bankers and a lack of regulation.

I also spoke on the risk of isolationism and its threat to economic recovery.

It is international cooperation that is needed to deal with the economic crisis. Narrow nationalisms and a retreat to isolationism certainly won't provide the answers.

The European Parliament will be at the centre of much of the necessary reforms. As MEPs we will amend and enact legislation on hedge funds, private equity firms, capital adequacy requirements, and new European bodies to monitor systemic risk and the cross-border activities of banks, insurers and securities firms.

And it is Labour MEPs who will be at the forefront of these efforts with our two members on the Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee, Arlene McCarthy and Peter Skinner having been appointed as rapporteurs (MEP in charge of the legislation) of the key dossiers.

The poor old Tories failed to secure any key reports as quite frankly, having left the mainstream and allied themselves with the extreme fringes of the Parliament. This demonstrates their acute loss of influence in the Parliament.

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