Tony Blair Briefings


Tony Blair

Tony Blair's speech in Brussels setting out his views on the implications of Brexit for the UK and the country's future relationship with the European Union, from Thursday 1 March.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Thank you very much indeed, Fabio.

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It is a great example of European

corporation, because I think you did

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your Ph.D. In the city of my birth,

you then married a Scot, and you are

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from Germany but you are living in

Brussels. It is pretty good. I hope

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it is working out for you, anyway. I

am going to do my speech and then we

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will have time for questions and

answers. I want to start by saying

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that...

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Brexit is momentous

and life-changing for Britain.

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The British people should

be given a final say

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on whatever deal is negotiated.

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If they are allowed that say,

then Brexit can be averted.

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I and many others will work

passionately for that outcome.

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But today I want to say

here in Brussels why Brexit

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is also bad for Europe,

and why European leaders share

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the responsibility to lead us out

of the Brexit cul-de-sac and find

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a path to preserve

European unity intact.

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For the first time since its

inception, a nation,

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and a major one at that,

will have disrupted the onward march

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of European cohesion,

left the European Union

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and will have done so apparently

for reasons of principle at odds

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with the whole rationale

for the union's existence.

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Britain without Europe will lose

weight and influence.

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But Europe without Britain will be

smaller and diminished.

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And both of us will be less

than we are and much less

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than we could be together.

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In politics, there is a kind

of fatalism which can often

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overwhelm what is right by making

the right course seem

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hopeless or even delusional.

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So it is with Brexit.

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In the UK, we are told the people

have spoken and to interrogate

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the question further is treachery.

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The will of the people is deemed

clear and indisputable,

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though what that will means

in practice given the complexity

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of Brexit, the multiple

interpretations of it,

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and the differing consequences

of each version, is - with every day

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which passes - not clear at all.

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But nonetheless we are told

we must just do it.

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And in Europe there is often

a sorrowful shaking of heads

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and a shrugging of the shoulders,

when what we need is strong engaged

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leadership to avoid a rupture

which will do lasting damage

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to us both.

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I understand European reticence.

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Until Europe sees real

signs that there could be

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a change of mind in Britain,

why should it contemplate

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the possibility of change in Europe?

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However, the argument

in Britain is far from over.

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It is in flux.

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See the speech of

Jeremy Corbyn this week.

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What I call the dilemma

of the negotiation ? close to Europe

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to avoid economic damage

but therefore accepting its rules

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or free from Europe's rules

but therefore accepting economic

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damage - is finally prising

open the discourse.

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It is a binary choice.

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The cake will either be had or be

eaten but it will not be both.

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The dilemma divides the Brexit vote.

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Many of those who voted Brexit want

a clean break from Europe

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even if there is economic

difficulty as a result.

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And even if it soured

the politics of Ireland.

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But many others would not want it

if there were an economic cost,

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and would certainly believe that

peace in Ireland

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should be protected.

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Outside commentary under-estimates

the fact that at some point this

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year the Government have got to put

a vote to Parliament and win it.

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They will of course try to fudge,

but as we are seeing this cake

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is quite resistant to fudge.

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After last June's General Election,

winning this vote will be much

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tougher than is commonly understood.

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For once, Parliament in this

equation can be more

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decisive than either

Government or opposition.

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There are three legs to the stool

upon which could sit

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a reconsideration of Brexit.

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The first is to show the British

people that what they were told

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in June 2016 has turned out much

more complex and costly

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than they thought.

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This leg is looking increasingly

robust as time goes on.

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The second is to show

that there are different and better

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ways of responding to the genuine

underlying grievances

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beneath the Brexit vote,

especially around immigration.

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This leg is easy to construct

but needs willing workers.

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The third is a openness on the part

of Europe to respond to Brexit

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by treating it as a wake-up

call to change in Europe

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and not just an expression

of British recalcitrance.

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This is the leg to focus on today.

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The stool needs all three legs.

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For Europe, the damage of Brexit

is obvious and not so obvious.

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In obvious terms, though

the economic pain for Britain,

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especially of a clean break Brexit,

is large, the cost to Europe is also

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significant and painful.

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One in seven German cars is sold

in Britain and goods exports

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in total are worth 3.5% of its GDP;

the figure for Ireland is 14% of GDP

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and for Belgium over 7%; Britain

is a huge market for French produce

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of many kinds; and a top three

export partner for ten EU members

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including Italy and Spain.

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Around 200,000 Dutch jobs

are involved in trade with the UK.

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There are around 60 direct

flights between London

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and Amsterdam every day.

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According to the Dutch Government

agency CPB a hard Brexit could make

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every Dutch person around

1000 euros poorer.

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A Europe in which Britain finds it

harder to be a financial centre

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for European business will be deeply

damaging for Britain

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but it will also impede

the economy of Europe.

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Estimates of the long term effect

on European growth vary depending

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on the version of Brexit chosen,

but they vary from bad to very bad.

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In short, no one I have spoken

to in the investment community

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from the USA to China thinks this

is a good idea for

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Britain or for Europe.

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Because of these effects,

some in Britain believe that

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therefore Europe will bend

its negotiating stance and allow

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Britain largely unfettered access

to Europe's Single Market

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without the necessity

of abiding by Europe's rules.

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This won't happen because

quite simply it can't.

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To do so, would risk unravelling

the Single Market and a return

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to precisely the system

that was in place before Europe

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wisely and in the interests

of its economy and with of course

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the full urging of successive

British Governments decided

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to create the Single Market.

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But the damage to Europe

of a political nature

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is to my mind more deleterious.

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For Schuman and other founding

fathers, the project of European

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unity was a project of peace,

cooperation in Europe

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being the alternative to the wars

which had ravaged Europe

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and the world in the first half

of the 20th century.

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They looked back at the long history

of European nations and saw

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centuries of conflict punctuated

by all too brief epochs

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of relative harmony.

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From the time of Charlemagne, Europe

had come together periodically,

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but mainly through religion,

force or transitory necessity.

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There had been an uneasy balance

of power arrangement towards the end

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of the 19th century

but then the rivalries

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of the great European nations

pitched them into a war no one ever

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thought would prove as devastating

as it did.

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The attempt out of it to produce

a new political settlement fell

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victim to the competing totalitarian

ideologies of communism

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and fascism and the descent

into the darkness of World War II.

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Then, standing on the rubble

of destruction, they decided

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to approach European unity

with renewed vigour and vowed

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to give it institutional

and practical meaning.

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Thus, began what has now

become the European Union.

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The rationale for Europe today

is not peace but power.

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For almost 300 years, the world has

been dominated by the West.

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At the beginning of that time

the great powers were European,

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with colonies and Empires.

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Japan and China were of

course major nations,

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but they were not shaping the world.

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By the end of WW1, the United States

had emerged as the most powerful

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nation, steadily eclipsing

the United Kingdom and stayed that

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way through the 20th century.

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But today, the world

is changing again.

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China is today the second largest

economy, the biggest global trader

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and as holder of huge amounts

of American debt, intimately

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important to global prosperity.

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If we look back at the top

economies in the year 2000,

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Europe dominates the top ten.

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Germany's was four times the size

of India's and larger than China's.

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Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia

were distant specks

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on the horizon far behind.

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By 2016, the situation

changes dramatically.

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India's economy is now almost

as large as the UK and France.

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By 2030, India's economy

will be larger than those

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of Germany or Japan.

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Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico

are narrowing the gap.

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China becomes the largest global

economy and seven or eight

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times the size of the UK.

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Look ahead to 2050, and India

is several times the size

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of the German economy and no

European economy is in the top six.

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With this economic change,

will come political change.

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The West will no longer dominate.

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And Europe, to retain the ability

to protect its interests and values,

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will need to form a strong bloc

with the power collectively to do

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what no European nation alone

will be able to do individually.

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Regard the regions

of the world today.

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Everywhere, in reaction to this

fundamental shift in geo-politics,

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countries are banding together,

from south-east Asia

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to the continent of Africa.

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Nations are in a desperate scramble

to find their place in a world

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in which no one wants to be forced

to choose between the big powers or

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unable to withstand their demands.

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For Europe, much more is at stake

than trade or commerce.

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Take defence.

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Yes, Nato remains the cornerstone

of Western security policy.

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under this administration,

is signalling the limits

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of its appetite for military

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commitment, and where current events

in Turkey show the fragility of some

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of the assumptions of alliance

within Nato, it is foolish,

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indeed dangerous, for Europe not

to have the independent capacity

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to protect its interests.

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If the SAHEL erupts who will bear

the brunt of the eruption?

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Europe.

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But who will we be

obliged to call upon?

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The USA.

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Of course, Britain can maintain

a close relationship on defence

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even outside the EU.

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It still represents 25%

of European defence spending.

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I welcome the British PM's speech

to the Munich conference

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and the excellent paper recently

from the German Council

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on Foreign Relations.

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But how much more effective

would such cooperation be

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if we were still part of Europe's

decision-making structure?

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Instead we are in the surreal

position of proclaiming our desire

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for tighter European cooperation

in defence just as we withdraw

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from Europe's political

framework for doing so.

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How can we police our borders

except through common

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strategy, or fight terrorism

but through enhanced integration

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of intelligence and surveillance,

or protect our privacy from either

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foreign Governments or corporate

behemoths other than by the strength

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which comes from size?

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Do we seriously believe that

if we had approached negotiation

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on climate change as individual

countries, rather than as Europe,

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we would have driven

the agenda in the way we did?

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But it is more than this.

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Our values are also in play.

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Brexit is happening at a pivotal

point in Western politics.

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Parts of our politics are today

fragmented, polarised,

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occasionally paralysed,

with visceral cultural

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as well as economic rifts,

with politicians who strive

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for answers swept aside by those

riding the anger, a sterile

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policy agenda focusing

on who to stigmatise,

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and barely touching the real forces

of change which are technological,

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and conventional media locked

in an ugly embrace with social

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media to create a toxic,

scandal driven, rancorous

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environment for debate which risks

destruction of democracy's soul.

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Meanwhile there are new powers

emerging who look sceptically

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at Western democracy today and think

there may be a different,

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less democratic model to follow.

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For the first time, not

just our power but our value system

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is going to be contested.

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We need at this moment for Europe

to regain its confidence,

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take courage and set a course

for the future which re-kindles

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the spirit of optimism.

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I believe firmly in

the trans-Atlantic alliance.

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Despite what it may sometimes seem,

so do most Americans.

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In the new geo-politics,

we need each other for reasons just

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as compelling as those

which thrust us together

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in the early 20th century.

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Especially at a time when America

appears pre-occupied

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with its own political upheaval

and is hard to read and easy

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to parody, Europe should be

far-sighted enough to keep

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the alliance strong, to be

determined in defending our values

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from those who would de-stabilise

us, and to send a message

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to the rest of the world

that Europe will grow

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in power in the 21st century

precisely because of those values.

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None of this can in any way be

advanced by Britain's

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departure from Europe.

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It rips out of Europe one

of the alliance's most

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sustained advocates.

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It weakens Europe's standing

and power the world over.

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It reduces the effectiveness

of the Single Market

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by removing from it Europe's

second largest economy.

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And Britain out of Europe

will ultimately be a focal point

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of disunity, when the requirement

for unity is so manifest.

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No matter how we try,

it will create a competitive

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pole to that of Europe,

economically and politically

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to the detriment of both of us.

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More contentiously, I believe

it risks an imbalance

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in the delicate compromise

that is the European polity.

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Britain supports the nation-state

as the point of originating

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legitimacy for European integration.

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Others are more comfortable

with the notion of ever closer

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Union leading over time

to a more federal structure.

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The truth is that the anxieties

which led to the Brexit vote

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are felt all over Europe.

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They're not specific to the British.

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Read the latest Eurobarometer

of public opinion.

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In many countries, similar

referendums might have

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had similar results.

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I know from experience that Britain

is often the argumentative

0:19:470:19:53

partner who speaks up,

but there is frequently

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a large group of others

sheltering behind us,

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glad there is a voice in the room

articulating what others think

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but are shy of saying.

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Even the famed Franco-German motor

can need British spare parts

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and lubricants even if they come

with the odd bit of grit,

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and from time to time,

British mechanics can work

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with others to create

a back-up engine.

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President Macron has sensibly

proposed a series of Europe wide

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debates on Europe's future

in recognition of the strains

0:20:270:20:36

in European politics.

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These will not work, however,

if they become merely a way

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of explaining to European citizens

why their worries are misplaced.

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It should be a real dialogue.

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The populism convulsing

Europe must be understood

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before it can be defeated.

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Immigration is a genuine fear with

causes which cannot be dismissed.

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Many feel the European project

is too much directed

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to the enlargement of European

institutions rather than to projects

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which deliver change

in people's daily lives.

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There is much good work done by this

and the previous Commission

0:21:110:21:15

to reduce regulation

and bureaucracy, unfortunately

0:21:150:21:18

usually ignored or over-shadowed.

0:21:180:21:22

But we should recognise

this is still an issue

0:21:220:21:24

for people all over Europe.

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The things Europe is doing

to build its capability to make

0:21:270:21:31

the lives of Europeans better -

in energy, digitalisation,

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infrastructure, education,

defence and security need to be

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driven forward with much

greater intensity.

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And the difference between those

in the Euro zone and those

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outside it will require

different governance arrangements.

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Europe knows it needs reform.

0:21:540:21:58

Reform in Europe is key to getting

Britain to change its mind.

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There should surely be

a way of alignment.

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A comprehensive plan

on immigration control,

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which preserves Europe's values

but is consistent with the concerns

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of its people and includes

sensitivity to the challenges

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of the freedom of movement

principle, together with a road map

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for future European reform

which recognises the issues

0:22:310:22:36

underpinning the turmoil

in traditional European politics

0:22:360:22:38

and is in line with what many

European leaders are already

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advocating, would be right

for Europe and timely for the

0:22:410:22:47

evolving British debate on Brexit.

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If at the point Britain

is seized of a real choice,

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not about whether we like Europe

or not ? the question of June 2016 ?

0:22:560:23:03

but whether on mature

reflection the final deal

0:23:030:23:07

the British Government offers

is better than what we have, if,

0:23:070:23:11

at this moment, Europe was to offer

a parallel path to Brexit of Britain

0:23:110:23:19

staying in a reforming Europe,

that would throw open

0:23:190:23:21

the debate to transformation.

0:23:210:23:26

People will say it can't happen.

0:23:260:23:30

To which I say in these times

in politics anything can happen.

0:23:300:23:36

In any event, it depends

on what magnitude of

0:23:360:23:39

decision you think this is.

0:23:390:23:45

There are errors in politics

of passing significance.

0:23:450:23:47

And there are mistakes of destiny.

0:23:470:23:52

If we believe and I do, that this

is of the latter kind, we cannot

0:23:520:23:55

afford passive acquiescence.

0:23:550:23:57

Those whose vision gave rise

to the dream of a Europe unified

0:23:570:23:59

in peace after centuries of war

and whose determination

0:23:590:24:04

translated that dream

into practical endeavour,

0:24:040:24:06

their ghosts should

be our inspiration.

0:24:060:24:13

They would not have yielded

to fatalism and neither should we.

0:24:130:24:17

We have months, perhaps weeks

to think, plan and act.

0:24:170:24:21

Let's be clear.

0:24:220:24:31

Even if Brexit is Britain s future,

and yours is a European Union

0:24:320:24:35

without Britain, we can't

alter our geography,

0:24:350:24:40

history or manifold ties

of culture and nature.

0:24:400:24:50

This is a divorce that can never

mean a physical separation.

0:24:510:24:54

We are consigned to co-habiting

the same space, trying to get along

0:24:540:24:59

but resenting our differences

and re-living what broke us apart,

0:24:590:25:04

awkward silences at the breakfast

table, arguing over the rules

0:25:040:25:08

with no escape from each other.

0:25:080:25:16

But ? and here is the supreme irony

? with so much in common

0:25:160:25:20

and still liking each other.

0:25:200:25:21

Better to make our

future work together.

0:25:210:25:31

If we don't, a future generation

will, but their verdict

0:25:320:25:34

on ours will be harsh for time

wasted and opportunity spurned.

0:25:340:25:40

It doesn't take a miracle.

0:25:400:25:43

It takes leadership.

0:25:430:25:44

And now is when we need it.

0:25:440:25:54

Thank you.

APPLAUSE

0:25:540:26:08

Thank you very much.

I will have a

couple of questions before opening

0:26:080:26:13

it up to the audience. You mentioned

towards the end that we have only

0:26:130:26:21

weeks or months. We are all aware

that we have the Article 50 clock

0:26:210:26:27

ticking in the background. What

needs to be done in these months and

0:26:270:26:32

weeks and how can we stop that clock

from taking?

It needs to become

0:26:320:26:37

clear that there is no escape from

the dilemma. Either you are close to

0:26:370:26:44

Europe and you have to abide by the

rules, but minimises the economic

0:26:440:26:49

damage or you are going the own way

but you are not part of the economic

0:26:490:26:54

system and you are going to do

damage to yourself. That dilemma

0:26:540:26:58

needs to become clear. It needs to

become clear but I think it is

0:26:580:27:03

becoming clear that there is not a

majority in parliament to do damage

0:27:030:27:06

to our country. The third thing that

needs to happen is we need to

0:27:060:27:11

realise on both sides that March

2019 is the data that has to be

0:27:110:27:20

sorted out before then. You know, we

have spent one year with the British

0:27:200:27:27

Government basically trying to say

that as a way of having our cake and

0:27:270:27:33

eating it. It is clear that there is

not. I think now is when you are

0:27:330:27:44

getting and Excel rating

understanding of what the basic

0:27:440:27:47

problems are. Northern Ireland shows

it very clearly. I think British

0:27:470:27:51

opinion will start to move once

people realise that this is not

0:27:510:27:55

about being a tough week negotiator,

this is about a fundamental problem

0:27:550:27:59

that cannot be resolved by the

exercise of political manoeuvring.

0:27:590:28:05

It can only be resolved by coming to

a choice that is either going to

0:28:050:28:11

lead you to long-term economic or

short-term economic damage and

0:28:110:28:17

possibly long-term economic damage,

or ending up any situation that I

0:28:170:28:22

think British people will find

unsatisfactory of abiding by British

0:28:220:28:25

rules and not being a decision maker

any more. If someone can find a way

0:28:250:28:31

out of that difficulty, I am ready

to hear it but I cannot see it. That

0:28:310:28:35

is what is going to accelerate this

process.

You were talking about the

0:28:350:28:42

need to have a reformed Europe as

well or a plea for a reformed

0:28:420:28:46

Europe. What would you say to those

who say, we have been here before.

0:28:460:28:52

The renegotiation with David Cameron

really was what was on the table in

0:28:520:28:57

terms of reforms and it was rejected

in the referendum.

Yes, I think what

0:28:570:29:03

I would say is European reform fit

into three categories. There are

0:29:030:29:07

things that people across Europe are

anxious about. I would put

0:29:070:29:15

immigration and anxieties about that

as the number one question. I think

0:29:150:29:20

that a combination of what Europe

wants to do in strengthening its own

0:29:200:29:25

external borders and a mix of

Britain in forcing what rules can

0:29:250:29:30

enforce them freedom of movement,

but also with some latitude on the

0:29:300:29:36

UDP inside. That, in my view, would

go in long way to fixing the

0:29:360:29:40

anxieties. -- latitude on the

European side. These are all things

0:29:400:29:47

we discussed over a long period of

time. The second area were things I

0:29:470:29:52

was talking about, comment energy

and defence. Europe is gearing

0:29:520:29:58

itself up to talk about these

questions anyway. It is not as if we

0:29:580:30:02

are going against the grain of what

Europe once. We need to set out some

0:30:020:30:06

clear principles where we are going

to go and thirdly is the issue

0:30:060:30:11

around governance changes within the

euro zone and outside the euro zone.

0:30:110:30:18

Most people in Europe understand

this has got to happen. I do not

0:30:180:30:21

think we need to decide all of this

now because that would be far too

0:30:210:30:24

quick a timetable but there needs to

be a clear sense that the anxieties,

0:30:240:30:32

not just of British citizens, but of

European citizens are being

0:30:320:30:38

addressed, and there is a process in

place for a Europe that is going to

0:30:380:30:41

make sense of the different

arrangements of the European

0:30:410:30:45

countries. Frankly, it is also a

matter of putting what we have in

0:30:450:30:49

Europe today against what the

Government is going to offer us.

0:30:490:30:52

Look, I know people say to me this

is a certain exercise and it does

0:30:520:31:01

not possible to change this but I

think the debate is opening up now.

0:31:010:31:08

The question... I understand the

frustrations in Europe but we are

0:31:080:31:13

going to have to find a way to make

this work because of working in new.

0:31:130:31:20

Thank you. I will open it up to the

audience. I will take two or three

0:31:200:31:25

questions together and if you could

please identify who you are and the

0:31:250:31:31

organisation you represent. I have

already got three or four fewer. I

0:31:310:31:35

will start with freezer.

Yes, the

microphone is just coming. I

0:31:350:31:45

remember you did three good speeches

out of Britain when you were Prime

0:31:450:31:48

Minister. My question really is to

the audience that you once

0:31:480:31:52

represented in the north-east of

England, one of the highest leave

0:31:520:31:57

votes. Do you think the arguments

you put forward today are

0:31:570:32:01

significant enough to change their

views in terms of getting support

0:32:010:32:05

for Europe? Where is the leadership

you advocated at the very end going

0:32:050:32:08

to come from?

Thank you. John, a

senior adviser at the BBC. Thank you

0:32:080:32:23

for an excellent speech.

I think...

It is very difficult for many of us

0:32:230:32:33

here... You have made fascinating

observations. I wanted to ask you

0:32:330:32:44

that you consider a Brexit Britain

as emerging as a competing poke to

0:32:440:32:53

the union. Could you elaborate on

that a bit more and how destructive

0:32:530:32:57

it may become?

Thank you. I will

take one more question.

Thank you.

0:32:570:33:08

Mark Johnson. Mr Blair, 20 years ago

when he became Prime Minister you

0:33:080:33:14

try and the press barons in order

that the new Labour programme could

0:33:140:33:18

go ahead. Many of those same press

barons today continue to pour poison

0:33:180:33:26

into the public debate in the UK

about this situation. So far as I

0:33:260:33:32

can recall, you have never called

them out for that behaviour. Why is

0:33:320:33:36

that so and reduce the prepared to

do so now, given all that that is at

0:33:360:33:41

stake? Thank you very much.

Right.

LAUGHTER

0:33:410:33:49

I think those are the three British

questions even though we are in

0:33:490:33:53

Brussels. But they are very good

questions. I represented is

0:33:530:34:03

constituency in the north of England

that voted substantially to leave.

0:34:030:34:07

My successor was a strong advocate

for remain. He stayed a strong

0:34:070:34:12

advocate of remain and, you know, I

think a much better position for the

0:34:120:34:20

Labour Party to be in today is to

say what it really believes, which

0:34:200:34:25

is that Brexit is not an answer to

the questions that people have. If

0:34:250:34:29

you are someone who is worried about

unemployment, lack of opportunity,

0:34:290:34:34

communities left behind, Brexit is

going to make all of those problems

0:34:340:34:38

worse. Brexit affects regions like

the north of England is much more

0:34:380:34:44

than regions and the south, like

London. At some point I think the

0:34:440:34:49

most powerful thing to say about

Brexit, if I were back in politics

0:34:490:34:54

today and Leader of the Opposition,

and unlikely hypothesis, I know, but

0:34:540:34:59

if I was I would be hammering the

Tories all of the time. Not just on

0:34:590:35:07

the destructive impact of Brexit but

the distracting impact of Brexit.

0:35:070:35:11

All of the issues of the country are

not getting dealt with because there

0:35:110:35:16

is no more energy. If you are in the

north-east of England you are

0:35:160:35:19

worried about the economy, health

service, jobs, we could be making

0:35:190:35:25

that case powerfully and I believe

in the end, you know, this is an

0:35:250:35:32

argument that can persuade large

numbers of people. You're never

0:35:320:35:36

going to persuade the people that

they are a minority who have this

0:35:360:35:40

view that Britain has got to be out

of Europe because that is what we

0:35:400:35:44

will allow Britain to become what it

once was. You are never going to

0:35:440:35:50

persuade those people. There are

other people in that coalition that

0:35:500:35:54

brought us Brexit who did a cost

benefit analysis and believed that

0:35:540:35:59

if they got out of Brexit there was

350 million extra we would get for

0:35:590:36:04

the health service. It turns out it

is not, there is less because our

0:36:040:36:09

growth rates are down. I think those

people could be persuaded if we took

0:36:090:36:13

a strong leadership position. To the

question about Britain as a

0:36:130:36:20

competing power. You see, if Britain

comes out of Europe... And we come

0:36:200:36:33

out of the single market and Customs

union, inevitably we are going to

0:36:330:36:40

have to restructure our economy.

We're going to have to market

0:36:400:36:43

ourselves differently as a company.

We have attracted investment into

0:36:430:36:48

Britain on the basis people like the

language, culture, the quite like

0:36:480:36:52

the British and it is a good place

to be for the European market. You

0:36:520:36:57

get out of all of that, you're going

to find a different way forward. I

0:36:570:37:01

think even though the rest of Europe

will say we do not want this and the

0:37:010:37:08

British Government is already saying

we do not want this. David Davis

0:37:080:37:12

gave his speech the other week.

We're going to be driven to it. By

0:37:120:37:17

the way, the people behind this

Brexit project, that is what they

0:37:170:37:21

want. Their dislike of Europe is the

political culture of Europe. Their

0:37:210:37:28

dislike of Europe is all the stuff

about solidarity and human rights

0:37:280:37:32

and this social Democratic climate

in Europe. They do not like it.

0:37:320:37:43

They think the Thatcherite

revolution in Britain was never

0:37:430:37:45

fully completed. Further Brexit is

the first step in a two step change

0:37:450:37:51

in Britain. The next step is indeed

to get Britain to compete on the

0:37:510:37:57

basis of saying look at these

Europeans, they have got all this

0:37:570:38:03

regulation and bureaucracy and we

are Britain. So whatever people say,

0:38:030:38:08

I think this is what would happen.

And the destructive impact of that

0:38:080:38:13

would be immense because it will

weaken Europe, it will cause great

0:38:130:38:17

stresses and strains. I came from...

I got the train from London to

0:38:170:38:28

Brussels, it is a shorter journey

from going from London to you did

0:38:280:38:32

your Ph.D. In Edinburgh. We are

going to be in this crazy situation

0:38:320:38:37

where we are right in the same

geographical space with all these

0:38:370:38:44

ties and if we are out with those

European markets, we will be

0:38:440:38:50

constantly looking for ways of

demonstrating a relevance and

0:38:500:38:54

demonstrating that it was the right

thing to have done. So I think

0:38:540:39:01

this... I am afraid it is inevitable

if we go ahead with this and I think

0:39:010:39:06

it will be bad for both of us. On

the press barons, I have made it

0:39:060:39:10

clear recently, this is what I call

the media cartel. On the right of

0:39:100:39:21

the British media, this has been a

major factor in creating this sort

0:39:210:39:32

of toxic atmosphere around Europe,

of sustaining the Brexit campaign

0:39:320:39:39

and have no by the way, if you read

those newspapers in Britain, you

0:39:390:39:44

will think the whole thing is going

really well. Europeans are obviously

0:39:440:39:49

unreasonable. Apart from them, it is

going very well. The one thing... My

0:39:490:39:58

differences to Jeremy Corbyn are

well-known, but the one thing I do

0:39:580:40:02

think about the last election is it

also showed the limits of their

0:40:020:40:07

ability. But it is a powerful factor

and I think it is a dismissive

0:40:070:40:13

factor.

Thank you.

0:40:130:40:20

My name is Paul Adamson. Until you

mentioned talking about immigration

0:40:270:40:33

and free movement, the need for a

latitude, your choice of word on EU

0:40:330:40:39

27. You are a strategic Don Quixote.

Based on talks you have had in the

0:40:390:40:47

last few months, how confident are

you that that will be forthcoming?

0:40:470:41:00

Thank you for your speech. You

touched upon the notion of European

0:41:000:41:09

reform. There are different models

out there today, the IPPR is showing

0:41:090:41:18

assured market model, there is the

continental partnership. I would be

0:41:180:41:23

interested in your thoughts on this?

Ellie Mears. You talked about

0:41:230:41:35

European reform and a big part of

that is reforming the immigration

0:41:350:41:41

system and coming up with a

comprehensive system. How do you

0:41:410:41:44

then square the circle of there

being two very different outcomes in

0:41:440:41:52

terms of immigration in Europe. In

places like Germany, there was a big

0:41:520:41:57

welcome for refugees and we do have

a massive war on our doorstep. But

0:41:570:42:02

then you also have the Eastern

European countries who would say

0:42:020:42:05

that culturally they are not ready

to take in refugees from other

0:42:050:42:09

countries. How do you, in a

comprehensive migration plan, how do

0:42:090:42:16

you reconcile those two views?

Poll,

first of all on the issue of free

0:42:160:42:26

movement. From my discussions with

European leaders, if they thought

0:42:260:42:31

Britain was serious about staying

within Europe, then I think there

0:42:310:42:38

would be a combination of a better

deal from Europe than the wind David

0:42:380:42:42

Cameron was able to secure, and also

very importantly an understanding

0:42:420:42:47

that Britain was going to have to

apply for the freedom of movement

0:42:470:42:52

rules more vigorously. It is

important to be open about this with

0:42:520:42:56

the British people. Governments

prioritise the economy over

0:42:560:43:02

controlling migration. We did it for

sensible reasons. We had a booming

0:43:020:43:08

economy and when you do an analysis

of European migrant workers, it

0:43:080:43:13

turns out we need most of them. And

when you go through the categories,

0:43:130:43:18

we have now got a problem in health

service today because the downturn

0:43:180:43:22

of European migrant workers. We need

the high skilled workers and we need

0:43:220:43:27

the students and the seasoned

workers. The people who come to

0:43:270:43:33

Britain looking for work, most of

whom I suspect go into, end up

0:43:330:43:40

working in bars and processing in

London and the South, but if we want

0:43:400:43:50

this, we could do what they do in

Belgium, which is, you have to find

0:43:500:43:55

work within a couple of months or

you go back. There are lots of

0:43:550:43:58

changes we could make if we want

them. I think this is something for

0:43:580:44:03

negotiation. But my feeling from

talking to other European leaders is

0:44:030:44:07

that people recognise emigration is

a problem in the whole of Europe. If

0:44:070:44:13

the price of European unity was

addressing these issues, they would

0:44:130:44:17

do it. In respect, Tom, what you're

talking about and reform in Britain.

0:44:170:44:23

I think the reforms are two sorts

apart from what I was in an

0:44:230:44:31

immigration. There are these

institutional questions that are

0:44:310:44:34

bound to be important, that our

changes that many people are

0:44:340:44:38

proposing. This is common in the

European debate. The other thing is,

0:44:380:44:46

I think... I have said this for a

long, long time in Europe, one of

0:44:460:44:50

the things we have got to do is

present an agenda for change in

0:44:500:44:59

Europe which coincides with what

most people in Europe will think is

0:44:590:45:02

going to improve their own lives.

And by the way there are lots of

0:45:020:45:06

things that Europe does that it

never kind of talks about in the

0:45:060:45:10

right way which would make a real

difference. Let me give you some

0:45:100:45:15

examples, digitalisation. We

actually need... Wires at that

0:45:150:45:21

Europe has not got big tech in the

same way that America has? We have

0:45:210:45:30

not created a genuine single market

in the digital sphere. A common

0:45:300:45:36

energy policy. A true common energy

policy would reduce costs

0:45:360:45:40

enormously. It could do that.

Education today is not just about

0:45:400:45:46

educating people, it is also a major

part of serving the British economy

0:45:460:45:51

and the European economy. There is

much more we could do together in

0:45:510:45:54

that sphere. If you talk about

energy supply, Europe has today some

0:45:540:46:00

quite bold plans as to how it is

going to ensure its security of

0:46:000:46:04

supply in the years to come. We

could be making much more of these

0:46:040:46:08

things for the people of Europe. And

that means more to them than some of

0:46:080:46:13

the more arcane institutional

disputes that often dominate,

0:46:130:46:18

costumes -- questions of European

reform. I don't quite know what

0:46:180:46:27

the... I know a lot of people in

Britain are looking for cooperation

0:46:270:46:32

out of the European Union and Europe

which mean that we would still align

0:46:320:46:38

ourselves with European rules. The

one thing I am certain of

0:46:380:46:43

politically, I am certain of this,

is any compromise, and this is part

0:46:430:46:50

of the problem that government has,

any compromise that involves as

0:46:500:46:55

abiding by European rules outside of

Europe, is never going to attract

0:46:550:47:02

the British people. And you will

find, if it happens, you will find a

0:47:020:47:07

large number of British people, and

this is the whole point, the divide

0:47:070:47:12

into two camps. There will be those

whose the, that is not good enough,

0:47:120:47:18

we want a clean break. It will

causes damage, we will take the

0:47:180:47:23

damage. There is another group of

people who will say, we might as

0:47:230:47:27

well stay. This is the problem. What

the British government is trying to

0:47:270:47:31

do is square that circle. The whole

time they come back to the same

0:47:310:47:34

thing. It is a kind of weird thing.

The UDP negotiators, you know, they

0:47:340:47:40

are trying to pull cards with EU...

-- the European negotiators. There

0:47:400:47:51

could be a steering wheel on the

right hand or left hand. Every time

0:47:510:47:57

the British negotiators turned up,

they say, we will offer you a

0:47:570:48:01

donkey. The European scene all,

we're talking cars here. Then they

0:48:010:48:05

come back weeks later, we have

something else. That is not going to

0:48:050:48:14

work. That is why the reform in

Europe, in the end, it only really

0:48:140:48:20

works in my view if it is for the

British, if it is for the whole of

0:48:200:48:26

Europe and Britain stay. Reform

Britain which leaves Britain have in

0:48:260:48:31

or have out, will not work. Finally

on the immigration question, look, I

0:48:310:48:38

am not... I think it is a really

good question. Here is my feeling. I

0:48:380:48:43

think even in Germany, there is a

lot of anxiety about immigration

0:48:430:48:49

questions. What is the problem with

immigration? The problem is that

0:48:490:48:56

there is no doubt that overall it is

a good thing. You look at the

0:48:560:49:04

successful economies of the world,

there is immigration. You look for

0:49:040:49:10

example, talking technology, look at

the big companies in Silicon Valley,

0:49:100:49:15

think of how many of those

businesses have been start --

0:49:150:49:20

started by immigrants. If I think of

the two big companies in the UK in

0:49:200:49:26

artificial intelligence, both of

them started by migrants. So

0:49:260:49:31

emigration, you know, improves

economies, it brings a new energy,

0:49:310:49:38

vitality and ideas and innovation.

Remember, when Japan was going to

0:49:380:49:44

overtake the world and become the

great power, in the 1980s. So if we

0:49:440:49:50

fast forward to today, one of the

reasons why Japan has not succeeded

0:49:500:49:55

in the way people thought they had,

it is because of immigration.

0:49:550:50:00

Immigration is a good thing for the

company -- country, but it is a big

0:50:000:50:04

change. And if you want to make

immigration work, the way of dealing

0:50:040:50:12

with it and the dilemma you quite

rightly raised, is in my view you

0:50:120:50:16

have got to have rules so you do not

have prejudices. But if you do not

0:50:160:50:21

have rules, you stimulate the claim

it for prejudice. And the real

0:50:210:50:25

problem that people have with

immigration as they look at what is

0:50:250:50:29

happening on Europe's borders and

they think we cannot control this,

0:50:290:50:33

they are coming in and they worry.

They worry about the change in their

0:50:330:50:37

society. I think in the UK's is the

worry is less to do with immigration

0:50:370:50:43

from within Europe than outside

Europe. Particularly, again, to be

0:50:430:50:49

frank about it, migration from

majority Muslim countries where

0:50:490:50:52

people are anxious about those who

come and share the same value

0:50:520:50:55

system. It is a problem. I know -- I

think there is a way of dealing with

0:50:550:51:02

the problem but it requires us to

understand that the fears of

0:51:020:51:05

immigration are not all prejudice,

there are genuine anxieties. You

0:51:050:51:10

have got to deal with the anxieties

so you can register prejudice. But

0:51:100:51:14

if you just kind of say, if you are

a region -- raising emigration, you

0:51:140:51:20

are an idiot. Then you lose the

argument. In the Italian debate, in

0:51:200:51:26

the Italian election, how big an

issue is immigration? In my

0:51:260:51:32

experience, Italy is a big factor. I

think, if Europe takes a really

0:51:320:51:39

strong, clear position on

immigration, which distinguishes

0:51:390:51:44

clearly between bills and

prejudices, then I think we can come

0:51:440:51:47

through it. But I think it will be a

big mistake to think it is about

0:51:470:51:52

Eastern Europe or Britain. It is a

genuine problem and it can only be

0:51:520:51:57

dealt with whether far-sighted

policy that has an understanding of

0:51:570:52:01

people's desire for control at the

same time as a complete

0:52:010:52:05

identification of European values,

solidarity and basic human rights

0:52:050:52:09

and so on.

0:52:090:52:15

Thank you. Prime Minister, if I

understood correctly, you partly

0:52:150:52:29

blame the EU side for Brexit. Did I

understand correctly? In the

0:52:290:52:35

negotiations right now, do you feel

that the European Union is not doing

0:52:350:52:38

enough to keep Britain in because

they are saying that they are sorry,

0:52:380:52:43

but if they are sorry, should they

do more to give some sort of option

0:52:430:52:46

to Britain? Either doing that? I

hope Brexit does not happen but if

0:52:460:52:54

it does happen, are we going to see

a second Scottish referendum?

0:52:540:53:04

Northern Ireland getting closer to

the Republic of Ireland than to the

0:53:040:53:09

united kingdom and England? How do

you see this? And if it happens,

0:53:090:53:14

Brexit, Turkey is ready to fill the

gap.

0:53:140:53:17

LAUGHTER

0:53:170:53:26

I am working on the youth employment

project.

Young people were in favour

0:53:280:53:34

of a remain foot. Although... Can

they compromise the long-term

0:53:340:53:42

future? There is a sense of

betrayal. How important as those in

0:53:420:53:49

the coming weeks and months to rely

on listening to young people's voice

0:53:490:53:53

in a debate for a second referendum?

Thank you. The frontier, please.

No,

0:53:530:54:03

behind you. Sorry. I beg your

pardon. Thank you for another great

0:54:030:54:09

speech. I wanted to ask you

something about the euro. You spoke

0:54:090:54:17

mostly about migration, about the

single market but would you think

0:54:170:54:22

that the fact that the UK is not a

part of the euro, and there is no

0:54:220:54:31

leader, even half litre, in the UK

who has been advocating entry of the

0:54:310:54:37

UK into the euro, do you think this

is really a difficulty? That in a

0:54:370:54:45

sense the UK outside of the euro was

never, and would never be at the

0:54:450:54:53

centre of the European project as it

has evolved, because the European

0:54:530:54:58

project is not just about, it is

about the single market, but it is

0:54:580:55:03

about something more. Is that not a

danger that the UK is on the margin

0:55:030:55:10

of the European project as it is in

2018? There is nonetheless this

0:55:100:55:16

difficulty of the UK and does that

not mean that we need to have a

0:55:160:55:22

project between Europe and the UK

about what puts us together, which

0:55:220:55:28

is the single market? It is not the

EU, but it is the single market part

0:55:280:55:33

of the EU. Is that not how we should

think of the future relationship?

0:55:330:55:38

Thank you. So,...

LAUGHTER

0:55:380:55:47

The first question was very nicely

put at the end there. And I always

0:55:470:55:59

remember when I had the presidency

of the European Union, the

0:55:590:56:03

negotiations with Turkey, but things

have changed since then, let's say.

0:56:030:56:09

But, no, I do not think... I think

the European negotiators are doing

0:56:090:56:18

what they have been called upon by

Europe to do. I think the one thing

0:56:180:56:23

I would say is, if it looks like...

Obviously, this is very apparent to

0:56:230:56:30

me. In Britain the whole debate is

Brexit. Every day it is Brexit. Even

0:56:300:56:36

I wake up and I'd think, it is

Brexit again. There is a groundhog

0:56:360:56:43

day quality that comes to this. I am

acutely aware of the fact that if

0:56:430:56:49

you are in Germany or France or

Italy, you're not talking about

0:56:490:56:52

Brexit the whole time. What I would

say is that if it looks like Britain

0:56:520:57:02

is genuinely opening up the debate

in the way I have described. If it

0:57:020:57:06

is going to become clear that the

Government is going to find it hard

0:57:060:57:11

to get a proposition through

Parliament, I think it is important

0:57:110:57:15

that Europe also recognises the

purpose of a speech today that if we

0:57:150:57:19

can avoid this, it is also good for

us. We are not doing Britain a

0:57:190:57:23

favour, it is going to be damaging

for Europe is Brexit goes ahead.

0:57:230:57:27

That is the right way to look at it.

I think in respect of the UK, at one

0:57:270:57:33

level I think short-term, even if

Brexit happens, even if the worst

0:57:330:57:39

type of Brexit happens, you are not

going to break the UK up.

0:57:390:57:43

Short-term. But I think long term it

will impose real strains because

0:57:430:57:48

that is no answer to this Irish

border question. People keep

0:57:480:57:52

treating the Irish border question

is if it was separate from the

0:57:520:57:56

overall dilemma. It is not. It is a

metaphor for the overall dilemma.

0:57:560:58:02

The problem in Northern Ireland is

the problem you will have really

0:58:020:58:05

come to the financial sector. You're

either in the single market and in

0:58:050:58:09

the rules and that is fine, or your

outfit, in which case it is going to

0:58:090:58:14

be damaging. I think in time,

therefore, my worry is not in the

0:58:140:58:20

immediate term but it does overtime,

likewise in Scotland. That is where

0:58:200:58:26

we are. I think in respect of young

people, yes, I think this is a big

0:58:260:58:32

issue. I met a group of young people

the other day who had formed

0:58:320:58:36

themselves into one of the several

groups who are agitating to have a

0:58:360:58:40

final say on the deal. I do think...

I know this from my own children.

0:58:400:58:47

They do feel that they can see the

way the world is changing much

0:58:470:58:55

easier than the older generation

because they are comfortable with

0:58:550:58:59

the notion of difference. I always

say to people, when I was growing up

0:58:590:59:06

in the north of England in County

Durham, I remember the day, I was 12

0:59:060:59:13

years old, when I met the first

person who wasn't white. If I looked

0:59:130:59:22

round the table at one of my

youngest sons are big parties, he is

0:59:220:59:29

17 now, but through the years, there

were different people of different

0:59:290:59:35

faiths, colours, and it has been

natural. I think young people are

0:59:350:59:40

not frightened by this, the

difference, it is opportunity,

0:59:400:59:46

worries about costs of tuition fees.

I think there is a profound sense of

0:59:460:59:56

betrayal for young people. It is

important if we do get to final say

0:59:561:00:00

on the deal is that there is a real

dialogue between the generations

1:00:001:00:04

will younger people say to the older

generation, come on, this is our

1:00:041:00:09

future. Anyway, we will see. The

final question about the euro is a

1:00:091:00:13

very difficult but very pertinent

question. Look, my view about the

1:00:131:00:19

euro was always put equate it was

the right thing for Britain. My

1:00:191:00:24

worry was economic. I think if you

look back at the creation of the

1:00:241:00:30

Eurozone, probably it would have

been better if it had been created

1:00:301:00:36

any more organic way. I remember

vividly the dinner that we had when

1:00:361:00:46

I was the first president of the

European Union in 1998, I think. We

1:00:461:00:53

had all the European leaders around

the table, it was pre-imagined. I

1:00:531:01:01

was trying to raise the argument

because I had come into power, we

1:01:011:01:03

were not going to join the euro but

I was keen to leave the door open

1:01:031:01:09

for a future time if Britain came to

the view it was the right thing to

1:01:091:01:13

do. I was putting the question of

whether it would be better to start

1:01:131:01:17

with the core of European countries

and start up from those. I remember

1:01:171:01:22

the Swedish premised at the time

coming in and giving a very eloquent

1:01:221:01:26

and quite prescient analysis of what

the future problems of the euro

1:01:261:01:31

might be. I remember it because

Helmut Kohl is to come to the

1:01:311:01:37

meetings and he was a large presence

in the room. I was remember that

1:01:371:01:43

he... Everyone else had the napkin

on the need -- on their neat, but he

1:01:431:01:50

would put it there. We were having a

discussion and he put down his knife

1:01:501:01:56

and fork and said, no, we're going

to do this together. Everyone is

1:01:561:02:02

going to be in at the same time. It

is apolitical project, it is not

1:02:021:02:06

just about economic. That is what is

going to happen.

1:02:061:02:10

LAUGHTER

That is what happened. I think

1:02:101:02:16

history will debate the correctness

of that, or otherwise. I got the

1:02:161:02:24

politics but I think the economic 's

is an issue. I think going forward

1:02:241:02:28

you are right that what we can do is

how we concentrate on how we

1:02:281:02:33

complete the single market in a way

that lays a stronger foundation for

1:02:331:02:39

the single currency. There are many

areas in the single market not yet

1:02:391:02:44

completed. One of the things that is

most restricting for people like

1:02:441:02:48

myself about the whole Brexit debate

is the extraordinary irony that the

1:02:481:02:52

two things at the British

Government, Labour or Conservative,

1:02:521:02:57

always agreed on and always fought

for was the single market and

1:02:571:03:00

enlargement. Now we have reached a

situation where was Brexit the

1:03:001:03:05

reason we say we want Brexit is

because of the migrants from eastern

1:03:051:03:10

Europe and we want out of the single

market because that means we have to

1:03:101:03:15

abide by the single market's rules.

It is an extraordinary thing we have

1:03:151:03:19

come to. I do believe this

relationship can be repaired. It

1:03:191:03:23

will beef important to focus on

that. -- be important. There is a

1:03:231:03:30

difference with the European

countries and that is going to

1:03:301:03:33

happen anyway. There are several

countries outside the euro zone and

1:03:331:03:37

will stay for the future at least

outside of the Eurozone. I think it

1:03:371:03:44

can be mailed to work for the both

of us. We have to accept there is

1:03:441:03:50

going to be different tiers of

integration. I am not keen on

1:03:501:03:58

concepts of two speed Europe kind of

thing, you have to remain with the

1:03:581:04:02

flexibility but there is no doubt,

and already there is true, there is

1:04:021:04:05

going to be a greater integration of

countries inside the Eurozone than

1:04:051:04:10

those who are not in it.

Thank you

very much. Unfortunately, we're

1:04:101:04:15

running out of time. I note there

were a lot of people who wanted to

1:04:151:04:18

comment. Maybe we can continue this

debate at a future point. I remember

1:04:181:04:25

about 16 months ago we had Donald

Tusk saying to us that the only

1:04:251:04:33

alternative to have Brexit was no

Brexit. So, 16 months on we still

1:04:331:04:38

have that debate. As you said, time

is very short. We have months, maybe

1:04:381:04:45

weeks, to see whether there will be

no Brexit. If it is not no Brexit,

1:04:451:04:53

probably it will be a hard Brexit,

with all of the consequences you

1:04:531:04:57

have outlined. I am very grateful

you may be time to come here and to

1:04:571:05:01

also talk to us about what you think

should be happening on the European

1:05:011:05:06

side. So, thank you very much and I

hope we can continue this

1:05:061:05:09

discussion.

Thank you very much.

APPLAUSE

1:05:091:05:21

Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair's speech in Brussels setting out his views on the implications of Brexit for the UK and the country's future relationship with the European Union, from Thursday 1 March.


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