Richard North, 01/07/2005  

Britain, we are told by all and sundry, including journalists on the Continent, in this country and in the United States, is interested in reforming the EU's economic model and making it more free-market.

As Press Association sums it up:

Britain has frequently been accused of trying to ditch the "social model" of Europe favoured by nations such as France which gives workers generous working conditions and benefits.

The UK has been accused of favouring a so-called "Anglo-Saxon model" which gives workers fewer rights.
The last comment would be news to most small and medium sized businesses, as well as to the CBI, the Forum of Private Businesses and the various Chambers of Commerce. (Why do journalists keep repeating this rubbish, without checking their facts first? Why do I even ask?)

Still, free market is as free market does, as we have noted about Señhor Barroso’s supposedly outward looking, reforming Commission that has turned out to be not that different from any other old-fashioned, common or garden Commission.

Mr Blair is calling what he describes as a "mini summit" in the autumn. It will be informal but it is only a matter of time before the informal mini summit becomes a very formal another European Council. We have been there before.

Anyway, this one will concentrate on the EU's future development. Are we going down the route of the "French" social model or are accepting the "British" free-market one?

A bit of both, really, according to that famous fence-sitter, Prime Minister Blair. Before the meeting the Commission will prepare a paper on

… the sustainability of the social model in Europe in the light of the changes that are happening all around us today.
An elevated discussion will follow.

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