Wednesday

26th Sep 2018

EU denies trolling UK with Blair meeting

  • Blair (l) and Juncker (r) in January. (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The European Commission has said there was “no conspiracy” in its decision to meet Tony Blair, a divisive British figure, during the next round of Brexit talks.

Blair, a former British PM who is campaigning against Brexit, will meet EU Commission chief Jean Claude Juncker for a “tete-a-tete” in Brussels on Thursday (31 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Davis (l) could bump into Blair on Thursday. (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

British officials will be there at the same time in what is to be the fourth day of the exit negotiations.

A Commission spokesman said on Friday that “current issues in European politics … may feature” in the Juncker-Blair meeting, alluding to Brexit.

He said they would also discuss the Middle East and Libya.

Blair, from the opposition Labour party, led the UK into the Iraq war in 2003. He once vied to become EU Council chief, then became a UN envoy to the Middle East and a private lobbyist.

He caused controversy in July by saying he had had secret “conversations” with senior figures in Europe on how it was “absolutely necessary” to stop Brexit.

Nigel Farage, a British nationalist MEP, accused him of trying to sabotage the process on Friday (25 August).

“Blair’s interference and desire to sell out our country never stops,” Farage, the former head of Ukip, an anti-EU party, told The Telegraph, a British newspaper.

The Commission spokesman said Blair was one of the many “friends” whom Juncker had made in his 35 years in politics.

He said Blair and Juncker were “very good friends".

Thursday’s agenda could see Blair bump into David Davis, the British minister in charge of leaving the EU.

The Brexit talks start on Monday (28 August). Last time, in July, Davis came to Brussels for the Monday and Thursday parts of the negotiations.

The Commission spokesman tried to dispel the idea that the Blair meeting was designed to troll the Davis talks.

“This is nothing extraordinary … no conspiracy theory there”, the Commission spokesman said.

The EU has said next week’s talks should cover citizens’ rights, the Irish border, and Britain’s EU-exit bill.

The UK recently published a series of position papers which showed that it also wanted to talk about trade.

Focus

Blair: EU should have elected leader

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the European Union must have an elected leader to give it the "clear leadership" to successfully spar with rising powers such as China in the future.

Brexit realities dawn in UK

Just over a year after a small majority voted for Britain to leave the EU, new realities are dawning on both the in and the out camps.

EU reforms could turn around Brexit, Blair says

Former British prime minister Tony Blair said the EU should treat Brexit as a 'wake up call' and warned that anxieties which led to the Brexit vote are felt all over Europe.

UK pushes for stage two of Brexit talks

"We’re in a good position, and would like to move on to discuss our future relationship”, the UK said on Tuesday, despite Commission warnings on slow progress.

News in Brief

  1. No UK election before Brexit, says May
  2. Former French PM wants to be mayor of Barcelona
  3. Merkel's wingman in surprise defeat in internal party vote
  4. Orban sends thank-you letters to supportive MEPs
  5. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  6. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister
  7. Migrant rescue ship heading to French port
  8. EU angry at British tabloids on Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. World upside down as EU and Russia unite against US
  2. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  3. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  4. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  5. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  6. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  7. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  8. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us