Tony Blair admitted EU faced ‘failure on grand scale’ in unearthed video

Tony Blair slammed for 'narcisistic' Afghanistan slapdown

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Former UK Prime Minister Mr Blair has been vocal on a number of issues in the past 18 months, including the Government’s handling of the pandemic and most recently, Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. Last weekend he branded Mr Biden an “imbecile” in a lengthy essay posted on his website, while saying the U.S decision to withdraw from the region had “every Jihadist group round the world cheering.” The former Labour leader added: “The abandonment of Afghanistan and its people is tragic, dangerous, unnecessary, not in their interest and not in ours.

“The world is now uncertain of where the West stands because it is so obvious that the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in this way was driven not by grand strategy but by politics.”

Mr Blair, an ardent europhile, has also been extremely critical of Britain’s decision to leave the EU since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

In January he stated in a speech to Chatham House: “I campaigned so long and so passionately against Brexit because I believe it to be a strategic error not just of policy but of destiny. 

“I haven’t changed my mind about that wisdom.”

Read More: Joe Biden: Polls slam President’s Afghanistan withdrawal ‘crisis’

Yet in an unearthed video from June 2005, Mr Blair addressed the European Parliament and poked holes in the EU model. 

He warned that if the EU failed to modernise it faced “failure on a grand scale”.

Mr Blair said: “If Europe defaulted to euroscepticism, or if European nations […] shrink away from confronting the changes around [them] and take refuge in the present policies of Europe […] then we risk failure, and failure on a grand strategic scale. 

“Ultimately, people always see politics more clearly than us, precisely because they are not daily obsessed with it. 

“The issue therefore is not about the idea of the European Union, it is about modernisation.”

Mr Blair claimed globalisation was Europe’s biggest threat, and believed the EU needed to adapt itself in order to compete economically with the US, China and India. 

If they failed to do so, he claimed, countries would look inwards and seek independence.

Mr Blair said: “It is not a debate about how to abandon Europe but how to make it do what it was set up to do – improve the lives of people.

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“But the purpose of political leadership, if we stop enlargement, or shut out it’s natural consequences, it wouldn’t in the end save one job, keep one firm in business, prevent one delocalisation. 

“For a time it might, but not for long.

“In the meantime Europe would become more narrow, more introspective, and those who garner support, will be not in the traditions of European idealism, but in the traditions of nationalism.”

In 2017 Mr Blair claimed it was his “mission” to persuade Britions to “rise up” and change their minds on Brexit. 

He argued that people voted in the referendum “without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit” and urged “a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge.”

The former prime minister naturally received waves of criticism for the comments from a number of Brexiteers.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith branded the comments as arrogant and undemocratic while Nigel Farage said Mr Blair was “yesterday’s man”.

Foreign Secretary and future Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “I urge the British people to rise up and turn off the TV next time Blair comes on with his condescending campaign.”

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