Friday, April 30, 2004

Well, the EU's expanding tomorrow, so Tony Blair's done a fluff piece in The Times about how great it all is.

Blair's points are very valid: "The benefits are obvious, including a stable, united and free Europe. Enlargement heals the divisions of the Cold War and guarantees freedom and democracy in countries which for so long had neither.

"It creates an expanded market of 450 million consumers which will increase prosperity, trade, investment and jobs throughout the enlarged Europe. Britain's trade with the eight largest new members has already doubled within the past decade. I believe, too, that the accession tomorrow will be a catalyst for change within the EU, helping to give a new push to Britain's agenda and fresh impetus to priorities which are already in the ascendancy in Europe."

"We need a Europe ready to change to meet the challenges of globalisation — a Europe with a strong social dimension but not one with rules so rigid that it costs jobs rather than creates them. We need a Europe which can compete globally successfully and fairly, so we need to complete the single market and overhaul the Common Agricultural Policy so that it is better for farmers, consumers, the environment and the developing world."

Unfortunately, Blair's really not the best person to be fronting a pro-Europe campaign at the moment. Iain Duncan-Smith's old catchphrase at PMQ's is almost true now - "Nobody believes a word the Prime Minister says anymore."

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