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Blair Enters the Brexit Arena - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the second time slammed into debate over Britain’s exit from the EU bloc, in an attempt to run a new political agenda by which he could amend EU laws and safeguard British interests.

Blair pointed out that the election of French President Emmanuel Macron opens up chances to bringing about changes to Brussels. The ex-prime minister also said he was ready to return to the political arena in the name of preserving British interests and EU ties with Britain.

Britain and the EU could meet “halfway” to strike a deal that would keep Britain inside the world’s largest trading area, Blair said.

Speaking to the BBC’s radio, Today, Blair said that some EU leaders may be prepared to compromise on the free movement of people to help Britain stay in the single market.

He told the Today program one option was for Britain “staying within a reformed EU”.

The ex-PM said he would not disclose conversations he had had in Europe – but insisted he was not speaking “on a whim”.

The government insists Brexit will give the UK greater control of its borders.

He told Today the situation in Europe was different to when Britain voted to leave the EU – a move Blair described as “the most serious it’s taken since the Second World War”.

He said France’s new president, Macron – whose political party was formed last year – was proposing “far-reaching reforms” for the EU.

“Europe itself is now looking at its own reform program,” Blair said.

“They will have an inner circle in the EU that will be part of the eurozone and an outer circle.”

“I’m not going to disclose conversations I’ve had within Europe, but I’m not saying this literally on the basis of a whim,” he added.

“They will make reforms that I think will make it much more comfortable for Britain to fit itself in that outer circle.”

“I’m not saying these could be negotiated,” Blair said.

“I’m simply saying if we were looking at this from the point of view of the interests of the country, one option within this negotiation would be Britain staying within a reformed European Union.”

He said the majority of EU migrants in the UK are “people we want in this country”.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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