Tony Blair: EU needs a President

The European Union should elect a president in order to restore confidence following the eurozone crisis as part of a “grand bargain” of measures, according to former prime minister Tony Blair.

Speaking on Monday in Berlin, Blair said that radical action was needed to address economic and democratic issues with the European Union.

“A Europe-wide election for the presidency of the Commission or Council is the most direct way to involve the public. An election for a big post held by one person — this people can understand,” he said at the Council for the Future of Europe.

“The only way confidence can be restored is with a fully comprehensive set of measures that convince markets and public alike that the fundamental issues have been overcome.”  

Blair admitted that the path towards political integration would be “extraordinarily fraught”. However, he warned that the EU would crumble as a political union if there was no strong centre.

“I would give a stark warning: if eurozone structures end up with a Europe that is fundamentally divided politically as well as economically - rather than a Europe with one political settlement that accommodates different levels of integration within it - the EU as we know it will be on a path to break up.”

Blair hinted that he would soon be delivering a speech in Britain where he would attack Eurosceptic attitudes as “on the wrong side of history”.

“Ultra Euro-sceptics – by which I mean those essentially in opposition to the whole Europe project – are on the wrong side of history. The 21st century case for Europe is based not on war or peace but on power or irrelevance.”

“A 21st century with China and India that in time, as GDP and population size realign, will become vast economic and political powers; with Brazil and Russia behind; a country like Indonesia with a population three times that of Germany; nations like Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria and Vietnam all bigger than any European nation; in this new 21st Century geopolitics, Europe carries weight, multiplies opportunity and makes sense for its individual nations.”

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