Friday

12th Apr 2024

Blair supports Giscard as chairman of Convention

Speaking at a press conference in Laeken today, Saturday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed his support for Giscard d’Estaing, who has been chosen by the European Council to head the Convention on the future of the EU. “We have always supported Giscard,” Mr Blair told journalists.

Mr Blair rejected the argument that Mr d’Estaing, as a Frenchman known to be in favour of deeper European integration, would weaken Britain’s position in the EU. “Let me assure you that having Giscard, a French politician, as head of the Convention is not against British interests,” said Mr Blair. The prime minister also dismissed suggestions that Mr d’Estaing was too old for the position, saying that he could bring valuable experience to the debate on the future of Europe.

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Mr Blair stressed that the only thing that matters as far as the Convention is concerned is achieving the right result. “The question to ask is: where will we end up at the end?” said Mr Blair.

Mr Blair indicated that he had two very clear objectives with respect to the Convention and the future of Europe. Firstly, said the prime minister, we want to be able to create a federation of nation states and not a federal superstate. Secondly, Mr Blair wants to see Europe taken out of areas in which it doesn’t need to intervene.

Mr Blair insisted that Britain needs more co-operation, not less, with its European partners, especially as regards the Convention on the future of the EU. “We must move away from the position where we believe we have no partners in Europe for our position,” said Mr Blair. “We do.”

Mr Blair added that it is co-operation with Europe that gives Britain strength, and that it is important to remain key players in the EU. “Pulling Britain away now would be disastrous,” he said.

Laeken Declaration

The Future of the European Union: Laeken Declaration adopted by the European Council 15. December 2001.

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