EU leaders are open to changing freedom of movement rules to keep Britain in the single market, it’s been claimed.
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair says the election of Emmanuel Macron in France has changed the dynamics of European politics.
Blair, writing for his Institute for Global Change, says the new French president has put EU reform back on the agenda and opened up the possibility of other European leaders being more accommodating towards Britain.
Here are the key parts of Tony Blair’s paper, in which he argues EU leaders could be open to reform to keep UK in single market. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/BfHe76zP7N— Chris Harris (@lyonanglais) July 15, 2017
“The Macron victory changes the political dynamics of Europe,” said Blair. “The members of the eurozone will integrate economic decision-making. Inevitably, therefore, Europe will comprise an inner and outer circle.”
“Reform is now on Europe’s agenda,” he continued. “The European leaders, certainly from my discussions, are willing to consider changes to accommodate Britain, including around freedom of movement.
“The opposition to free movement of people, once you break it down, is much more nuanced. The French and Germans share some of the British worries, notably around immigration, and would compromise on freedom of movement.”
Blair’s comments are at odds with the EU’s negotiating stance, which stresses there can be no “cherry picking” from the benefits of membership of the EU’s single market without accepting freedom of movement for EU workers.
The UK government says it will leave the single market and design an immigration system to better control who comes into the country.
Blair was prime minister for 10 years until 2007. He wanted to take Britain into the eurozone and believed Britain should lead the way in the EU rather than withdraw from it.
Blair names no sources of those suddenly in favour of reforming free movement. Perhaps in same room as Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction?— David C Bannerman (@DCBMEP) July 15, 2017
Tony Blair – the country voted to stop a hard Brexit & rejected explicitly the mandate Theresa May was demanding: https://t.co/t2hmHHEmrA— Open Britain (@Open_Britain) July 15, 2017
I think it’s possible now that Tony Blair has spent too much time with wealthy foreign dictators & has forgotten how democracy works. https://t.co/R7peokLJHJ— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) July 15, 2017
There’s nothing like a Tony Blair intervention to rally/cheer depressed Brexiteers.— Iain Martin (@iainmartin1) July 15, 2017
Strangely I don’t want to hear a single syllable more from Blair on any subject.. https://t.co/OpzEXBT0to— Arron Banks (@Arron_banks) July 15, 2017
Whatever you think about Blair, this should be read and discussed for itself. https://t.co/N2oQks9dYP— David Aaronovitch (@DAaronovitch) July 15, 2017
Oh dear Tony Blair is hearing voices again – “Europe will do a deal” a bit like “weapons of mass destruction”— Ian Paisley MP (@ianpaisleymp) July 15, 2017