Thursday, June 23, 2005

Tony Blair goes Thatcher in Brussels

EU: I think Blair is liking taking it to the EU wieners and especially mocking France/Germany.

"Tony Blair urged European leaders yesterday to heed "a wake-up call" from voters, saying they should not kid themselves it was "business as usual" after the No to the EU constitution from France and the Netherlands. In a blunt, at times passionate, 30-minute speech to the European Parliament in Brussels the Prime Minister poured scorn on the EU's habit of responding to crises with navel-gazing and tinkering with its institutions. Visitors in the public gallery likened his address to Margaret Thatcher's 1988 speech in Bruges, when she sounded the alarm about a "European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels". They were only half-right. Compared to Lady Thatcher's Bruges oratory, Mr Blair was much ruder, mocking the EU for issuing empty declarations at times of crisis and hinting that France and Germany should tackle their own economic woes before lecturing him. ....Mr Blair presented himself to the European Parliament as an anxious insider, "a passionate pro-European" committed to "Europe as a political project" but bearing an urgent message of reform for his comrades. He made clear he believed himself to be a full member of the European family, with a family member's full rights to criticise. Like all family rows, it quickly became nasty. On point after point, Mr Blair broke Brussels taboos, and said the unsayable. Though he did not name countries, he pointed a finger at runaway French and German unemployment, which is more than double that in Britain. "Some have suggested I want to abandon Europe's social model. But tell me, what type of social model is it that has 20 million unemployed in Europe?" he asked.

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