Miliband and Alexander to make Europe trip

17th February, 2013 6:39 pm

Over the next few days, Ed Miliband and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander will be travelling to meet European allies in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. Both men will be holding talks with senior European politicians on a trip that the party is billing as “about building a Europe that works for all”.

Visiting Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, they will be meeting:

  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark (Monday)
  • Stefan Löfven, Leader of the Swedish Social Democrats (Tuesday)
  • Diederik Samsom, Leader of the Dutch Labour Party (Wednesday)

Most of the attention will no doubt be on the visit to Denmark, because a) Westminster is obsessed with Borgen and Thorning-Schmidt is Denmark’s real-life first female Danish PM (although she very much is not Birgitte Nyborg) and b) because of her links to the Labour Party (she is Neil and Glenys Kinnock’s daughter-in-law). However the meeting that may be most relevant might be on Wednesday, when the two men meet representatives from teh Dutch Labour Party, who recently bounced back into government off the back of a successful election campaign that was marked by sometimes painful honesty about the future of the country.

There has clearly been plenty of thinking about Scandinavian Social Democracy in Miliband’s office recently. Some Miliband supporters – and detractors – think he’s something of a Scandinavian Social Democrat himself. Interestingly, when I spoke to a senior Miliband aide last week they said that what interested them most about Scandanavian economies was less their reliance on tax and spend, and more the highly skilled and educated population, leading to low wage differentials between the top and bottom of society. No doubt that’s something Miliband and Alexander will be wanting to discuss while they’re away – as well as creating some dividing lines between Miliband’s approach to Europe (constructive, open, engaged) and Cameron’s (closed and obstructive).

Speaking ahead of his trip – Miliband released the following statement:

“Britain’s future lies in Europe not outside it. The EU provides a gateway to the single market for thousands of British businesses and those who invest in our country. But with millions of people out of work across Europe including one million young people in Britain, it’s clear that Europe isn’t working for its people.

“This is a failure of David Cameron’s economic approach in Europe as in Britain: a failure to understand that recovery will be made by the many not just a few at the top; the failure of the notion that a relentless squeeze on living standards could ever lead to growth; the failure of collective austerity as the answer to the economic problems of Europe.

“I will be talking to allies across Europe – in Denmark, Sweden, and Holland – about how we change it to make the EU work for working people and help us all begin building for the future. And learning lessons for Britain about how we can create a successful economy, one which is made to last.

“That means adopting a different approach from this government. We cannot create wealth through just a few at the top, but only by supporting the living standards, skills and talents of the many. We need a plan for an economy that works for all of Europe’s people.” 

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Daniel Speight

    …and more the highly skilled and educated population, leading to low wage differentials between the top and bottom of society.

    Again I go back to (harp on about) that measurement of income inequality called the Gini Coefficient. This idea of narrowing the gap in incomes really is a question of faith for social democrats. You see you can’t support neo-liberal economics and more equal incomes at the same time. It really is test of the leadership of the party, one which unfortunately Blair and Brown failed miserably.

    • Dave Postles

      The GC is probably is probably much higher than actually recorded since it is easier to disguise income and wealth these days.
      Additionally, a number of economists are reasserting that inequality inhibits economic growth.

      • Daniel Speight

        Yes Dave, it seems that support for the idea that unequal societies fare worse than those that are more equal is gaining support all the time. It seems that ‘greed is good’ has had its day.

  • Pingback: The forging of a UK-Nordic-Baltic bloc | The Corner The Corner()

Latest

  • Comment Featured This sorry tale of Corbyn and Malhotra’s office politics reveals the mistrust at the top of Labour

    This sorry tale of Corbyn and Malhotra’s office politics reveals the mistrust at the top of Labour

    There are no winners from the row over access to Seema Malhotra’s office. The whole episode – from “unauthorised” entry to complaint, television appeal and then staff being cleared – has led to anger on both sides. To members it has probably prompted despair. Meanwhile the voting public looks upon Labour and is, once again, mystified. The fascination of the press and broadcasters with this dispute is not difficult to understand. It perfectly suited their narrative of another in a series of proxy battles […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Cooper: Labour risks fresh slump in core vote unless it responds to harsher world of work

    Cooper: Labour risks fresh slump in core vote unless it responds to harsher world of work

    Changes in the workplace and the world of big business means Labour is at risk of losing its traditional support base, Yvette Cooper has warned. Some of Labour’s current problems come from a failure to connect with working class voters who have been left behind by globalisation, Cooper argues in a new book published with the Changing Work Centre, joint initiative from the Fabians and Community, the union. Labour is not inspiring those who want to work hard or offering them answers to the […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Smith unveils wealth tax as part of 20 policies to tackle inequality

    Smith unveils wealth tax as part of 20 policies to tackle inequality

    Owen Smith today pledged to deliver “fair employment, fair taxes and fair funding”, as he revealed a manifesto of 20 policies. In a speech on the site of the old Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire, the leadership contender promised to ban zero hour contracts, repeal the Trade Union Act, build 1.5 million new homes and end the public sector pay freeze. Smith has criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership for failing to bring forward policies, and aims to use today’s series […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured “The kind of revolution I’ll deliver” – Owen Smith’s speech on industry

    “The kind of revolution I’ll deliver” – Owen Smith’s speech on industry

    Here is the full text of Owen Smith’s speech at the Knowledge Transfer Centre Advanced Manufacturing Park on the site of the old Orgreave coking works today: This place is a symbol of what we can do at our best. How Labour can build a fairer, more prosperous and contented country. But, let me be clear, under the Tories, we have become an unhappy country. A frustrated, divided and profoundly unequal country. Where individuals and whole communities feel deeply that life […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Corbyn: Owen Smith is copying my industrial policies

    Corbyn: Owen Smith is copying my industrial policies

    Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign has accused rival Owen Smith of lifting policies from the Labour leader. Corbyn campaigners said Smith’s policies on equality, re-industrialisation, workers’ rights and development in the north of England have been announced by the leader or John McDonnell over recent months. Smith, the leadership challenger, today announced a set of policies designed to tackle economic inequality, saying neither Corbyn nor Tony Blair was sufficiently radical. Smith promised to introduce a Ministry of Labour, increase the top rate of […]

    Read more →
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit