On Blair's speech to the EU parliament 

Blair's speech from today on his plans for the British EU-presidency is here. He stipulates one implication that I find convincing and important:
I tell you in all frankness: it is a contradiction to be in favour of liberalising Europe's membership but against opening up its economy.
A weakness of Blair's speech is however that it does not acknowledge the problem for his allegedly pro-EU position that may be summarised as "false friends": a good part of the changes he requests from the EU would be ones that those forces who want to see the EU reduced to a free market would cherish as well; while leftist forces who believe that a race-to-the-bottom in welfare policy can only be avoided by social harmonisation within the EU would witness short term changes in the opposite direction from what they want - Blair could only prove to them that he acts in their real interest in the long term ("we have done it on the basis of and not at the expense of a strong economy"). The continental anti-Blairites won't suspend their disbelief in his true motives until then. Blair clearly spells out his policy disagreements with the continental center-left, but he says too little about where he differs from the EU-sceptic British right.


Another weakness of Blair is that he chose not to attend this week's meeting of European social democrat parties in Vienna. Was he afraid of of a barrage of criticism?
He appears to become the divider of the EU, a move that only helps his favourite buddy GW Bush who is in such a dismal position with his approval ratings plummeting that a strong EU would be a further hurdle on his path into an economically disastrous future.

"Continental anti-Blairites" - where can I sign up ;-?

Bengt O.

Euroblog - A Northern Perspective
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