I am a convinced European and the passionate supporters of Europe should back the reforms. We should be honest regarding the European challenges, and also listen to what the voters say. We need a Europe adapted to the conditions of the 21st century. That is why, as other four countries, the British government could not vote in favor of proposals concerning the European budget last week.
We do not want a budget that continues contributing seven times more to agriculture than research, development, science, technology, training and innovation all together. 40% of the budget is for the agricultural policy that only covers 5% of the population. We should direct the economy to the future, create jobs and not favor particular interests. We should invest in education and innovation, but not paying 2 Euros everyday for a cow. This cannot be achieved overnight, but the rest of the world is not waiting for us and we cannot wait till 2014 as some people think.
Obviously we should assist the poorest members. The United Kingdom has declared that it favored the expansion and would keep its commitments. Just to clarify: Great Britain has always paid its part. Even with the reductions, we have paid twice and an a half times more than the French or Italians. We are willing to pay more if it is for the right policy, but only if it goes to the poorest and not to the richest. That money should get to what Europeans appreciate: growth, employment and wellbeing. We should adapt ourselves to the economic conditions which are not only dictated by the United States or Japan, but also India, China and others.
The EU is more than a free trade area. The people want jobs, but also safety and preservation of the environment. They want to defend the European values and a strong Europe in the world. The United Kingdom supports a social Europe, but a social Europe according to the current world. We should find out why some get to create jobs in Europe and why some others do not. Without growth, those goals cannot be achieved. These debates cannot be separated from the budget.
During the British presidency, we tried to draft a budget suitable for all the members and make Europe stronger in the next century. Some people talk about a crisis in Europe, but what I see is an opportunity to set more ambitious goals. We could bring the European citizens closer if we listen to their expectations.

Le Monde (France)
Der Spiegel (Germany)
Circulation: 1 100 000 copies. An important investigation magazine issued for the first time in 1947, and source of multiple political scandals. It is known for its own journalistic slang and also issues four special editions yearly. The website of the Spiegel is the most successful online magazine in Germany.

"EU-Geld für Arbeitsplätze,nicht für Kühe !”, by Tony Blair, Der Spiegel, June 21, 2005.
Le pire serait de continuer comme si rien ne s’était passé” , Le Monde, June 23, 2005.