POLITICS
26/01/2012 01:18 GMT | Updated 26/03/2012 06:12 BST

Cameron To Tell Europe To Stop Tinkering And Take Bold Economic Action

David Cameron will tell Europe today that it must be "bolder" if it is to shake off its economic woes.

The Prime Minister will urge the European Union to explore the possibility of free trade deals with other major trading blocs, such as the US and Africa. And he will call for a target for reducing Brussels red tape that he said was holding back business.

Mr Cameron will be speaking to world leaders, economists and business chiefs at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort

of Davos.

The annual gathering comes amid renewed gloom about the economy after the International Monetary Fund this week downgraded its forecasts for global growth.

Britain is facing the prospect of a return to recession after the Office of National Statistics yesterday reported a 0.2% contraction in the UK economy in the final quarter of 2011.

In a message to his European counterparts, Mr Cameron will say: "This is a time to show the leadership our people are demanding.

"Tinkering here and there and hoping we'll drift to a solution simply won't cut it any more.

"This is a time for boldness not caution - boldness in what we do nationally, and together as a continent."

He will warn that competitiveness remains Europe's "Achilles heel", with the single market incomplete, and "unnecessary" measures from Brussels that were burdening businesses and "can destroy jobs".

"We need to be bolder still," he will say.

"Here's the checklist - all proposed EU measures tested for their impact on growth; a target to reduce the overall burden of EU regulation; a new proportionality test to prevent needless barriers to trade in services and slash the number of regulated professions in Europe.

"The truth is, we can't afford to wait any longer."

In the absence of a conclusion to the Doha free trade round, Mr Cameron will propose that a "coalition of the willing" could "forge ahead with more ambitious deals of their own".

Free trade agreements with India, Canada and Singapore must be completed by the end of 2012, he will say.

He will also call for the EU to "look at options for agreement" with the US in a deal that "could have a bigger impact than all of the other agreements put together".

"And why not an ambitious deal between Europe and Africa?" he will go on.

"This is a bold agenda on trade which can deliver tangible results this year, and I am proposing that we start work on it immediately.

"All these decisions lie in our own hands. The problems we face are man-made and with bold action and real political will we can fix them."