Tony Blair

Tony Blair calls for directly elected EU president

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 10:25 GMT Jump to Comments

Tony Blair has called for a directly elected President of Europe, whilst warning of deep political rifts between member states which could lead to the break up of the EU.

Speaking to the Council for the Future of Europe in Berlin, the former UK prime minister said that the European Union’s institution was seen as too distant by many people around Europe.

Mr Blair’s speech comes at a difficult time for the government, with the prime minister, David Cameron, under pressure to call a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

“The problem with the European Parliament is that though clearly democratically elected, my experience is people don’t feel close to their MEPs,” said Mr Blair.

He suggests “A Europe-wide election for the presidency” would be the “most direct way to involve the public.”

“Out of this European crisis can come the opportunity finally to achieve a model of European integration that is sustainable,” Mr Blair added.

“The present situation is the most serious to have faced the EU since its inception. And as we speak, the crisis persists.”

Mr Blair warned of a growing divide between Britain and the rest of Europe, but said that a stronger EU was the solution.

However, he acknowledged “I can’t see any new political settlement being acceptable without direct popular consent through referendums.”

In response to Blair’s comments, the leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage MEP, said “This is the man who would sell his coutnry, for the bauble of EU office.”

He added “This ideas contained in Blair’s speech do however show that even he is giving up on his old dream of Britain being at the heart of Europe, it isn’t and it cannot be.”

“His hopes will be dashed, as I hope will his ambitions,” Mr Farage finished.

In his speech, the former prime minister said “Ultra-eurosceptics – by which I mean those essentially in opposition to the whole Europe project – are on the wrong side of history. The 21st Century case for Europe is based not on war or peace but on power and irrelevance,” Mr Blair said.

Mr Blair said that forging Britain’s role in the EU will be a “tricky task” but he said it is essential that “the UK is not to be sidelined and Europe to be without the active participation of such a large and significant member of the existing union.”

Comments

Latest

Scientists have identified a way to sensitise cancer cells to chemotherapy, allowing them to become more susceptible…

There are increasing amounts of women sitting on FTSE boards, but have we done enough to encourage more females…

The government has formally recognised the distinct identity of the Cornish people, and has granted them minority…

World Day for Laboratory Animals marks the highlight of this week’s Laboratory Animal Week, commemorating…

HC2014

Large organisations like the NHS need to improve the way in which clinicians work, and with funding available…

Whilst cancer rates, excluding female lung cancer, continue to fall in Europe death rates from pancreatic cancer…

UK social care will face a ‘gap’ due to more than a million people without adult children carers by…

Eight major renewable electricity projects have been unveiled as part of the government’s electricity reforms,…

HC2014

New funding will help local areas ‘unlock’ locally-led housing developments and accelerate local growth.

The new fund will aim to help community and volunteer-led projects provide extra support to older people next winter.

Digital innovation is rewriting the rules of how businesses and organisations sell products and deliver services;…

The social investment market is growing strongly, and the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund is helping sector…