In his interview with The Times, the former prime minister calls for an elected president of the European Union, selected by an electorate of nearly 400 million people, which “would give the EU clear leadership and enormous authority on the world stage.” It is essential for Europe to have “strong, collective leadership and direction.” This is necessary, Blair believes, because “we won’t have the weight and influence a country like Britain needs unless we’re part of that European power as well.”
Significantly, his grand scheme is all about “power, not peace”, with a muscular Brussels supposedly taking on the rising ’superpower’ in Beijing:
“In a world in particular in which China is going to become the dominant power of the 21st century, it is sensible for Europe to combine together, to use its collective weight in order to achieve influence. And the rationale for Europe today therefore is about power, not peace.”
In all but name, Blair is urging the creation of a European superstate, a rival power to both the United States and China, one where national sovereignty is pooled in several key areas, including defence and foreign policy, immigration and organised crime, tax policy, and energy. The foundations for much of this have already been laid by the Treaty of Lisbon, but Blair’s vision takes the European project considerably further, especially in the area of tax harmonisation and defence.
Blair himself admits that there is little chance of his idea of an elected president being embraced at home at this moment (a position that he no doubt wishes to fill himself), but insists that this is the path that Britain and Europe must ultimately take. And there can be little doubt that his dream of a politically and economically unified EU is shared by many other leaders across Europe who remain wedded to the concept of ever closer union, despite the crisis in the Eurozone, and the irrelevance of Brussels over Libya.