World Bulletin / News Desk
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has ruled out becoming the new European council president after a meeting with Germany's Angela Merkel on Monday, saying that he has "no personal ambitions" to take on the role.
Blair also called on the European Union to implement a long term "manifesto for change", adding that the EU's federalist origins no longer held validity, and the European public still believed in the nation state.
"I mean a proper program – almost like a manifesto for change – that is sufficiently precise that afterwards the commission knows exactly what it is supposed to do and has the full support of the council in executing it," he was quoted saying in the Guardian.
"Europe does too much of what it need not do, and too little of what it must do, and you have the perfect confluence of dissatisfaction that seems to define Europe today," he said.
"The crucial point from the perspective of Europe's future is that we ensure that the British 'issue' with Europe does not disable us from playing our part in the larger question. This will require us to be careful in framing the argument for change in Europe in a way that builds alliances for the good of Europe as a whole, including the UK, not in a way that satisfies simply a narrow-gauge dispute between the UK and the rest of Europe," he said regarding the UK's role in the EU.
There have been recent reports that current British Prime Minister David Cameron is threatening to bring forward a referendum on plans to pull the country out of the bloc if federalist and former Luxemburg leader Jean-Claude Juncker elected new president. In the European Parliamentary elections, Eurosceptic party UKIP took the largest proportion of seats.
Blair also slammed anti-immigration UKIP for playing on the insecurities of the British public to gain power, saying it was “dangerous and wrong for leaders in British politics” to give people the idea “that what's holding them back is that somebody is coming in and taking that opportunity from them”.
“It is a deception to tell people that they're better off just shutting down in the face of it [immigration], or stigmatising those who are different in race, colour, nation or faith,” he said.
“The answer to the white, working-class unemployed youth in alienated communities in Britain is not to tell them their problems would be solved if there were fewer Polish people working in the UK,” he added.Last Mod: 02 Haziran 2014, 17:42