Monday

27th May 2019

'Don't give up on Europe' Blair tells America

The UK prime minister Tony Blair has made fresh calls for Europe to bury ideas of becoming a rival to the United States.

Addressing the US Congress on Thursday (17 July) Mr Blair outlined his belief that the US and Europe should work together, describing attempts to set up rival poles as "an anachronism to be discarded like traditional theories of security."

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"There is no more dangerous theory in international politics than that we need to balance the power of America with other competitive powers; different poles around which nations gather", said Mr Blair.

"If Europe and America are together, the others will work with us. If we split, the rest will play around, play us off and nothing but mischief will be the result of it."

Atlanticism

In a wide-ranging speech Mr Blair made frequent references to Europe - double those made about Iraq - the Prime Minister said that the UK's place was in a Europe that is changing.

"We are part of Europe, and we want to be. But we also want to be part of changing Europe. Europe has one potential for weakness. For reasons that are obvious, we spent roughly a thousand years killing each other in large numbers."

Mr Blair said that the arrival of ten new members of the EU next year will transform the Union and make it more interesting for the US.

"Why will these new European members transform Europe? Because their scars are recent, their memories strong, their relationship with freedom still one of passion, not comfortable familiarity."

"They believe in the trans-Atlantic alliance. They support economic reform. They want a Europe of nations, not a super state. They are our allies and they are yours. So don't give up on Europe. Work with it."

There was also some advice for the US.

"Europe must take on and defeat the anti-Americanism that sometimes passes for its political discourse. And what America must do is show that this is a partnership built on persuasion, not command."

"As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible, but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind? And what you can bequeath to this anxious world is the light of liberty."

Mr Blair also called on the EU and US to make progress on opening their markets to the worlds' poorest countries.

"We can't say to the poorest people in the world, 'We want you to be free, but just don't try to sell your goods in our market'" Mr Blair told Congress.

Trade ministers and leaders will meet in Cancun in September to hammer out a deal on further trade liberalisation.

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