European Council

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:08 pm on 24th March 2005.

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Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister 1:08 pm, 24th March 2005

In exactly the same way, there was a lot of opposition to reform of the common agricultural policy. The reform has not been as great as we wanted, but the position is different from what it was a few years ago. Yes, I believe that the services directive will go through, but there will be a battle over it. My point to the Conservative party is not that there will not be a battle—there will—but that we must consider what is the best way to win it. My point is that the biggest change that has happened in Europe—I do not think people fully understand it yet—has been the accession of the new member states, which are our allies on both the transatlantic alliance and economic reform. That is why it would be so crazy to marginalise ourselves in Europe. With respect to the Leader of the Opposition, at the very moment when we are fighting those battles for the transatlantic alliance and economic reform, to start a debate about the renegotiation of Britain's membership—I cannot think of a crazier or more misjudged policy.