Saturday

23rd Sep 2017

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).

  • 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.

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.

Barnier: UK risks undermining trust in Brexit talks

A day before UK PM Theresa May sets out her Brexit strategy in Florence, top EU negotiator Michel Barnier told lawmakers in Rome: there can be no transitional deal for the UK without a withdrawal agreement.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  2. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  3. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  4. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  5. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead
  6. EU to step up sanctions on North Korea
  7. Tusk calls 'euro summit' in December
  8. Report: May to seek two-year EU transition

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel