Thursday

16th Aug 2018

German EU presidency to fight red tape, says Merkel

Cutting EU red tape will be a top priority when Germany takes on the EU presidency in 2007, German chancellor Angela Merkel has announced.

Speaking on the first day of the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos she said obsolete EU legislation should be abolished and that future EU directives should carry an expiry date.

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Bureaucracy often stifles innovation, she indicated "We must get away from the idea that a directive is in place for all time and can never be reconsidered."

"Some 6 percent of the turnover of small and mid-size companies in Germany is spent on bureaucratic costs," she added. "We must learn to measure the cost of bureaucracy."

In her half hour speech to a packed audience of chief executives and policy makers she also made a strong pledge to agree on a global framework of rules to govern competition between old industrial and quickly-developing economies.

"There is a need for a new social market economy," Ms Merkel explained.

"I think bilateral agreements between individual groups in the world ... will not get us very far," she said and pointed instead to international organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.

Ms Merkel also renewed her calls to revive the frozen European constitution "The constitutional treaty is of great importance for the EU because it looks beyond regulations and helps us to reach agreement," she said.

She called on the EU to consider alternative energy technologies and said this was necessary because the industrialized world consumes 70 percent of the world's energy, while accounting for only 20 percent of its population.

Without mentioning nuclear power by name, she said good technologies could be a "creative imperative" and that Europe must look to new alternatives.

Ozil's resignation highlights Europe's identity debate

Mesut Ozil resigned from the German national squad after months of fierce criticism, as critics questioned his loyalty for posing with Turkey's Erdogan. His departure exposes a deeply divisive European debate.

Analysis

Will Austria's presidency give EU a populist push?

As Sebastian Kurz's government takes over the helm of EU-policy making for the next six months, Austrian MEPs from opposing sides weigh in on the EU's youngest prime minister's possible influence on the continent's future.

Interview

EU populists not actually that 'popular', says global activist

"The populists are not popular. It's 14 percent of the vote in Germany and smaller percentages in other countries," says global campaigner Ricken Patel, considering to use his organisation, Avaaz, to raise turnout in next year's European parliament elections.

Analysis

EU leaders take on migration to fight political crisis

The main objective of Thursday's summit in Brussels will be to agree on new measures to reduce illegal migration, in order to help Angela Merkel at home and fight populists and extremists across the bloc.

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