Carney praises EU at St Peter’s Lecture

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The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney delivered a boost to the hopes of the ‘Yes’ to the EU campaign in his first major intervention on the topic.

Mr Carney was giving the Cairncross Lecture for St Peter’s College at the Sheldonian Theatre.

In his speech, he praised the role of the European Union in helping the UK maximize the benefits of its open economy. He did go on however to add that the EU needed to offer sufficient safeguards to ensure the British economy did not suffer ill effects from any shocks within the Eurozone in the future.

His words of praise for the EU’s economic benefits included praise for the contribution that its freedoms; those of free movement of capital, labour, goods and services have made to the UK economy, especially with regards to innovation.

The talk should be good news for David Cameron, who aims to make the case for Britain staying within a reformed European Union.

Mr Carney did however acknowledge that as the EU moved towards greater integration amongst the Eurozone members, safeguarding would play an important role in ensuring the Bank’s job of maintaining economic stability would be easier.

When questioned by the Master of St Peter’s College, Mark Damazer, he made clear the Bank’s view was very much one of operating within the parameters that are set for them and offered no view on the government’s attempted renegotiation. He also clarified that his talk was only concerned with how membership of the European Union affected the Bank’s ability to fulfill its obligations to ensuring macroeconomic stability.

Earlier in the talk, he had brushed off media attention in the lecture by suggesting that those who were wishing to hear a talk on the Bank’s position on the upcoming referendum should waste their time studying the ceiling of the Sheldonian instead.

In a sign that the speech was welcomed by the government, the Chancellor, George Osborne tweeted after the talk: “Mark Carney’s impressive speech right to argue that we need safeguards for non-euro countries like Britain in the EU.”

Others questioned the extent to which Carney’s speech represented a meaningful intervention on the referendum debate, Jeremy Warner of the Daily Telegraph tweeted: “Sorry, but I’m struggling to see how Carney’s “intervention” adds anything at all to the Brexit debate. No nuances here”

 

Image: Nikita Gladilin