BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Interviews 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Friday, 8 September, 2000, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Single market key to prosperity - Byers
European Parliament
Mr Byers sees the UK at the heart of Europe
Britain's future economic prosperity and world influence depends on making the European single market work, Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers has said.


Some in Britain still call for withdrawal or renegotiation of the Treaty

They do so not from a position of defending the national interest, British jobs or influence, but from a position of political dogma


Stephen Byers
Mr Byers said the UK now had to work harder for the success of the single market.

"Our future is a European one. To pretend otherwise is to put wishful thinking before reality and to allow prejudice to triumph over economic reason," he told a business innovation conference in Hanover, Germany.

"The key question for Europe is whether it has the will to take on and reject the attitudes and vested interests of the past. We must be sure that it does."

Free market liberates business

Mr Byers said that the United States' economy - with its single set of rules and absence of trade barriers - had liberated business so it could take risks when developing new products for its 270 million consumers.

Stephen Byers
Arguing the case for the single market
Europe had 380 million consumers, giving Britain the opportunity to "secure even greater benefits" from a single market.

He said: "Sometimes decisions that help boost the single market are difficult for member states. But we must strive to overcome these because the prize is so big.

"Our membership of the EU strengthens our influence in the world, opening trade and strengthening security.

In a thinly veiled attack on British eurosceptics, Mr Byers said that those who argued against Europe were failing to see the economic benefits.

"Some in Britain still call for withdrawal or renegotiation of the Treaty. They do so not from a position of defending the national interest, British jobs or influence, but from a position of political dogma," he said.

Mr Byers is widely seen as one of the key European enthusiasts in the UK cabinet as well as being a close ally of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Bad week for the euro

His comments come at the end of week in which two of the main eurosceptic groups - Business for Sterling and New Europe - launched their No to the Euro campaign and the single currency plummeted to a new low against the dollar.

The No campaign - fronted by former foreign secretary Lord Owen - prompted fierce criticism from Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy who said that 3 million jobs depended on Britain increasing its ties with Europe.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

08 Sep 00 | Business
Union says 'go slow' on euro
06 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Kennedy slams anti-euro campaign
04 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Owen warns against early euro poll
04 Sep 00 | Business
Anti-euro campaign launched
06 Sep 00 | Europe
Euro hits new low
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories