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Cameron Cites Need For 'Bolder' Steps To Resolve EU Problems


British Prime Minister David Cameron addresses participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 26.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says European Union leaders need to take "bolder" measures if Europe is to overcome its economic problems.

Cameron told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that economies across Europe are going through a "perilous moment" and he called on European leaders to show "leadership."

"Tinkering here and there and hoping we'll drift to a solution simply isn't going to cut it anymore," Cameron said. "This is a time for boldness, not for caution -- boldness in what we do nationally, but boldness also in what we do together as a continent."

The British leader said the European Union lacked competitiveness and said the debt crisis of the eurozone -- of which Britain is not a part -- was weighing down "business confidence and investment" across Europe.

"Europe's lack of competitiveness is its Achilles' heal," Cameron said. "For all the talk, the Lisbon Strategy has failed to deliver the structural reforms that we need. The statistics are pretty staggering. As measured by the World Economic Forum, more than half of EU member states are now less competitive than they were this time last year, while five EU member states are now less competitive than a country that is pretty [bad at adapting], Iran."

Cameron also called for reducing EU bureaucracy, which he said was "burdening businesses" and "destroying jobs" and urged broader reform of how the eurozone is managed.

"In spite of the economic challenge, in spite of the unemployment challenge, we are still doing things through the EU to make life even harder," Cameron said. "In the name of social protection, the EU has promoted unnecessary measures that impose burdens on businesses and governments and can destroy jobs."

Cameron also described as "madness" French-led plans to introduce a Europe-wide tax on all financial transactions.

Cameron was the keynote speaker on the second day of the annual conference in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, which is being attended by more than 2,600 delegates, including world political leaders and business executives.

The eurozone debt crisis and its global impact are dominating discussions this year in Davos.

compiled from agency reports

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