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Blair argues Brussels leaders willing to compromise to avoid UK leaving Europe

Saturday, July 15th 2017 - 07:42 UTC
Full article 18 comments

Tony Blair believes European leaders would be willing to tighten up the free movement of people as a way to avoid Britain leaving the EU. The UK former prime minister suggested the “will of the people” may be changing as the difficulties of Brexit negotiations become apparent and called for a “proper debate” over the different options, including remaining in a reformed EU. Read full article


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  • Clyde15

    No matter what he says...“Trust me”....should we ? Can he guarantee an unanimous decision from ALL the EU member states ?

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 08:50 am - Link - Report abuse +2
  • Terence

    Does he not understand what democracy is?

    Not only does he want to deny the will of the people he also want them to remain under an openly undemocratic bloc...if they reform it'd mean EU bureaucrats would have to pay proper tax, have their expenses properly examined and all five of its presidents ought to be elected.

    Then of course we need to see them drop this 'European' Army nonsense, resist the islamification of the continent and banish the freeloading Kinnock dynasty, for riding the EU gravy train for so long.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 08:58 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    If the EU really reformed, then it would be democratic to hold another referendum. But what are the chances? Cameron tried to negotiate with them and could not get even small changes. Apart from free movement, are they going to audit their accounts? Stop the MEP's abuses of expenses? Are they going to make sure member states actually enforce the laws rather than just giving them lip service? Limiting the growth of the EU budget in this time of austerity wouldn't go amiss either.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 11:08 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • EscoSesDoidao

    Away with you Blair, you murdering liar. Go read the Chilcot Report.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 11:12 am - Link - Report abuse +2
  • Brit Bob

    Tony Blair and democracy -

    Tony Blair agreed to a secret deal to hand joint sovereignty of Gibraltar to Spain, according to explosive claims by a former Labour cabinet minister.
    Peter Hain reveals in his memoirs that he struck the deal with the Spanish government in 2002 to end the UK's 300-year control of the vital strategic outpost.
    He makes clear that he and Mr Blair were both prepared to ride roughshod over the objections of the people of Gibraltar in order to get their way, describing Mr Blair's attitude to the inhabitants as 'contemptuous'. (Daily Mail 24 January 2012).

    All based on a worthless sovereignty claim: Gibraltar - Some Relevant International Law:

    So much for the democratic and human rights of the people of Gibraltar then.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 11:38 am - Link - Report abuse +2
  • Pontefractious

    So it all comes back to the two men who are possibly the two most dangerous individuals in Europe, Mssrs Tusk and Juncker. Elitist of the elites, blinkered and obsessed by a bureaucratic vision of a Europe minutely micromanaged from Brussels, these two were the ones who totally discounted the possibility of a Brexit and therefore utterly refused to enter into the negotiations with Cameron which might well have avoided it. Blair thinks the Europeans might be flexible. He's probably right. But if so the initiative is going to have to come from Tusk/Juncker, and those two are going to find it impossible to climb down from the ridiculously high pedestal on which they have placed themselves.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 12:24 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • darragh

    So 'project fear' is alive and well and Tony Blair is it's disciple.

    Had the 'Brussels leaders been willing to compromise' as claimed by Blair before the referendum then the result may have been a lot different.

    The only people to blame for Brexit are, as Pontefractious says, Tusk and Junker and possibly Cameron for being so lily-livered about the non-negotiations but then I suspect that like Tusk and Junker he thought that the British people wouldn't dare to vote to leave the 'Elysian Fields' of the EU.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 01:47 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • DemonTree

    It's been over a year, can we put the tired old 'project fear' rhetoric to bed now?

    Blair is claiming things are different due to the rise of Macron. There will be an inner group of Euro nations with more integration and an outer group with less. But I don't see it. If they were willing to compromise on free movement then they would have done it before the referendum.

    And the only people truly to blame for Brexit are those who voted for it, thought no doubt the crappy campaigns on both sides contributed.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 02:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pontefractious

    @Demon Tree
    The French have never trusted the Brits. The French blythly disregard European directives when it suits them, especially in the area of national champions. They hate it when the Brits make claims on the cultural front and thus infringe on France's self appointed role as the cultural arbiter of Europe. But what they hate most of all, and what has led to celebration behind closed doors following Brexit, is the fact that English has become the lingua franca of Brussels. Most of the top Euro bureaucrats speak three or four languages fluently, yet gradually over time English has become the default language, probably because it is the one language all of the representatives of the expansion countries speak. The French are now nursing hopes that with the Brits gone French will re-establish itself as the natural language of diplomacy.
    With all that anti-Brit feeling across the channel, what is the liklihood that Macron, apparently meeting with unexpected success but still very much on his political honeymoon, will risk his new found popularity by taking the lead in turning Brexit around ? I personally wouldn't bet on it. His political base is not yet strong enough to indulge in random acts of statemanship.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 03:22 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • darragh


    'tired old 'project fear' rhetoric' it may be but certainly Blair doesn't think so as he has raised it from the grave of inconsequential nonsense that it always was.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 10:28 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    I dunno about all that cultural front stuff, but I think the EU will go on using English for the foreseeable future, and I doubt it will influence Macron's plans significantly.

    But I already said I don't see much prospect for a reform that would make Britain reconsider.

    No. The term 'project fear' was invented because of the overblown claims that Brexit could lead to WWIII and/or the collapse of western civilisation. And it was very effective as propaganda because it could also be used to dismiss the quite reasonable worries and warnings of remain advocates. For example, that we would not be able to control immigration and stay in the single market.

    Blair isn't claiming anything unreasonable. No one could say the negotiations are going well, the pound IS down 12%, the economy has slowed and banks are starting to move operations abroad, just like the remain campaigners said they would. So, it's time to stop dismissing the downsides of Brexit as project fear, and start planning how to deal with it instead.

    Jul 15th, 2017 - 11:39 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Capt Rockhopper

    The man is only trying to improve his chances of becoming EU President. My use of the word man is purely co-incidental. With regard to the EU Army it is nothing more than an attempt at disarming the individual nations.

    Jul 16th, 2017 - 07:37 am - Link - Report abuse +4
  • golfcronie

    If you believe Blair then pigs do actually fly, he is a lying twat as the Chilcot report says.When the politicians leave the limelight they make ridiculous claims, I would like to know which EU politicians led him to believe that the UK could remain in the EU.

    Jul 16th, 2017 - 08:41 am - Link - Report abuse +4
  • DemonTree

    Not to worry Golfcronie, no one does believe him. I reckon I'm the most pro-EU poster here (not a difficult achievement) and I've said three times already that I can't see it happening.

    Out of interest, do you also think Nato is an attempt at disarming the individual nations?

    Jul 16th, 2017 - 11:29 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • golfcronie

    We already have NATO so why would the EU want a European Military Force, I have no idea.

    Jul 17th, 2017 - 12:02 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Pontefractious

    @Golfconie - for the control freaks that inhabit Brussels the concept of a lot of little countries all with their own little armies, all making their own decisions on what supplies to buy and where to buy them, where to quarter them and who should design their uniforms, when flags should be flown and when decorations should be worn suggests exactly the kind of chaotic universe that only a well run bureaucracy, with all the necessary micro management skills, can beat into submission. But they also realize that, wrong-headed though the individual country governments may be on this issue, it is a highly sensitive one. Try suggesting to the French that the Republican Guard, responsible for the safety of the President of France, should be put under the command of some faceless apparatchic. And not least they have to take into consideration that there is already NATO, a cooperative force that will be hard to dislodge but must necessarily be seen to duplicate the functions of a putative European military force. Of course, what really gets up their collective nostrils is the involvement of the US. Diplomacy must necessarily go hand in hand with military force. For the nascent European foreign service to find itself second-guessed by a US with a different strategy must irritate them no end. When all is said and done lots of people have paid lip service to the desirability of an EMF but very little progress has been made. Thank goodness.

    Jul 17th, 2017 - 01:23 am - Link - Report abuse +2
  • Kipper

    The question is why is this piece appearing in Mercopenguin, a British government propaganda organ supposedly devoted to America, South America and the “South Atlantic”?

    Jul 17th, 2017 - 06:04 am - Link - Report abuse -3
  • DemonTree

    “We already have NATO so why would the EU want a European Military Force, I have no idea.”

    Two reasons. Firstly, the current US President has been unreliable on Nato, and that is a problem for an alliance that is supposed to act as a deterrent. In other words, if Putin doesn't believe Trump would respond, he may well try something, and that is what we'd all like to avoid.

    Secondly, as Pontefractious says, diplomacy goes hand in hand with power. The EU has lots of economic power, but little to no military power, and the US does not always share the same interests as us Europeans. Collectively, EU countries spend a little more than 1/3 as much on their militaries as the US, but don't have anything like 1/3 of the military power. Russia doesn't spend even a quarter as much as the EU countries combined, yet has had a free run in Ukraine as the EU is unable to use its influence even in its own backyard.

    No one gives a shit about flags, uniforms and decorations, but having compatible or better still identical equipment and being able to work together seamlessly are important. Reducing duplication of effort between countries would be the way to really save money, but would be very unpopular with member nations.

    Pontefractious is also correct that little progress has been made so far. However, this is mostly due to the UK steadfastly blocking greater military integration. Thanks to Brexit, the path is now cleared for them to build their own army.

    Jul 17th, 2017 - 09:10 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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