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Blair's criticism of EU over Brexit echoed in Brussels

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Blair's criticism of EU over Brexit echoed in Brussels

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Former British prime minister Tony Blair's latest sallies on euronews against the EU and its role in the Brexit debacle have created plenty of comment in Brussels, and not a few heads have nodded in agreement.

We asked an expert if the criticism that the EU had refused to listen to Britain and reform, spurring the Bexit movement, was justified.

"I think that's correct, i think that if there would have been a profound reform of the EU we would nothave seen Brexit. I'm pretty confident of that. Now, we are where we are and should we have a second referendum that's of course for the British people to decide but there was one political party, the LibDems, that went to the election with a pledge to have a second referendum and it wasn't very successful," says the Head of Open Europe's Brussels office, Pieter Cleppe.

"In theory, even if Britain would like to stay after all, well, there's some conflicting legal opinions on that, but ultimately it would have to happen with the consent of the other member states, and that's also a question mark, if that would be given," he warns.

Cleppe added that with the UK economy equivalent to the economies of the 20 smallest EU members the loss would weigh heavy, and there were many voices in Europe unhappy a champion of free markets and trade was on the way out, but he added that there were no proposals for freer trade, such as an open market for services, currently on the table, not were there any signs of political will backing the idea.

Blair is an unashamed pro-European, but remains a divisive figure in the UK and in his own Labour party, and it is unsure just how much influence he can bring to bear.