Canlyniadau 41–60 o 15571 ar gyfer speaker:Tony Blair

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: The hon. Gentleman is simply wrong about the common foreign and security policy. It remains intergovernmental: that is made absolutely clear in the overview article that I described earlier. He says that he has heard it all from me before— but frankly, I have heard it all from him before. [ Interruption. ] It is probably greatly to the benefit of both of us that neither of us will have to...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: I know that the hon. Gentleman would never say anything so extreme, but we need a realistic debate. The truth is that he wants us out of the EU whereas I want us at its centre, and in the end, that is the difference between us.

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: Yes, it is essential that the Lisbon agenda is maintained. Although the new words from the constitutional treaty were removed, it is important to remember that all the articles relating to the Single European Act remain in place, as do the Commission's powers to act. Of course, that is the other reason why it is important for us to have a strong European Commission. We are lucky, I think, in...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: Of course, the reinforced co-operation provisions give countries a chance to decide whether to integrate further, but I shall tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman what has changed in the 10 years between 2007 and 1997, when he was in office. When I first came to negotiate the Amsterdam treaty we had been through the beef war, and the absurd thing was that we ended up turning up to...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend. We still have some time in which to make sure that the World Trade Organisation talks succeed. The positions of Europe and America are closer now: there is not a great gap between the main players in the talks, and it is essential that we use the next period of time to get the negotiations completed. I also think there is a big argument to be...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: I am sure that there will be every possibility of discussing that in the joint ministerial committees, and it would be a sensible topic for one of those committees.

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: I was in favour of the constitutional treaty, and said at the time that I did not believe that it involved fundamental transfer of power, but I obviously had to accept that it is called a constitutional treaty and brings everything together in one place; indeed, it purports to be a constitution for the whole of Europe. Other countries were holding referendums on that basis. The two things...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: The premise of the right hon. Gentleman's question—that new powers are given to Europe as a result of the single legal personality—is wrong. It is made specifically clear that the single legal personality does not extend the powers of the European Union. That is stated in terms. As for the idea that Europe previously never had a legal personality, the European Union has already concluded...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: On the judicial and home affairs power, it is important to recognise that we previously negotiated an opt-in—not an opt-out—to asylum and immigration measures. That was hugely important. If we had simply negotiated an opt-out, as the Conservatives did—in my view mistakenly—on the social chapter, it would mean that we either had to stay out of everything or come into everything....

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: Exactly. It was a pick-and-choose method, which is absolutely the right thing to have on that. [ Interruption. ] Then the Opposition should be supporting us. As a result of that, for example, in respect of the immigration measures I think that we are returning about 120 or 130 failed asylum seekers to Europe every month. We could not have done that without the opt-in procedure. That is why...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: First of all, Germany is a parliamentary democracy—I mean, come off it. I have not come across those comments, but if the President made them, I disagree with them, and I suspect that most German people do. I do not think that when there was a German election recently, people thought that it was not a parliamentary democracy. Secondly, with respect— [ Interruption. ] Well, with the...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: With one exception, I agree entirely with what my hon. Friend says. In any event, it is important to recognise that it requires something fundamentally different about a particular treaty in Europe to justify a referendum. Incidentally, that is why not only is Britain saying that this is a conventional amending treaty, but so are the other countries, or many of the other countries that have...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: I hope that is correct. One of the reasons why we should get off the endless debate about institutional mechanisms is that I have noticed from the European enlargement through which 12 new countries have come in, that Europe today works essentially though political alliances. To be absolutely frank, even under QMV, if our country has a major interest but we cannot assemble a blocking...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is another area on which Europe should work more closely and integrate its policy to a greater extent. There is no way in which we can deal with organised crime and illegal immigration except, partly at least, on a Europe-wide basis. Illegal migration into Europe is a major problem for countries such as Malta and, to an extent, Spain. Europe should be...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: I am afraid that I completely disagree with the right hon. Gentleman. It was interesting that he was unable to specify the major areas that require us to have a referendum. We have gone back on the constitutional treaty. For example, the common foreign and security policy now remains in a separate pillar, which is a major change from the constitutional treaty. It is absolutely clear that we...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: My hon. Friend is entirely right. The agreement makes the changes that are necessary for the greater efficiency of the European Union and allows us to protect absolutely the national points of principle that we consider important. He is also right to say that as a result of that, we can move on to the areas of discussion in which the people of Europe are frankly far more interested than they...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: The words have changed, of course, because they were in the constitutional treaty. I am afraid that this is what people will have to accept: I would have preferred to keep the words in, of course, but if I am laying down four vetoes, and red lines and so on, others will lay down their red lines, too. As a matter of fact, I think that we have protected completely the juridical and legal basis...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: The reason that I disagree with my hon. Friend is that it has changed fundamentally. First, it is no longer a constitutional treaty; it does not, for example, collapse the common foreign and security policy pillar, which is a major area. Secondly, in respect of the two areas that people worried about most—the charter of fundamental rights, on which people said, "Well, that is going to apply...

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Accounts Commission: European Council (25 Meh 2007)

Tony Blair: I think I have explained already why I believe this to be completely different—because the constitutional treaty notion has been abandoned. Instead, we have gone back to a conventional amending treaty, and the truth is that we have never had referendums on such treaties. Let us also be very clear that the reason why the hon. Gentleman wants a referendum is to vote no, and he would vote no...


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