Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair: Europe Needs Elected President

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair: Europe Needs Elected President

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy

THE European Union should consider having an elected president as part of a "grand bargain" of measures to restore confidence following the eurozone crisis, Tony Blair said today. The former prime minister -- who would be a front-runner as a candidate if an EU presidency was created -- said economic needs and the democratic deficit should be addressed in one comprehensive agreement.

"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," he told an audience of senior politicians in Berlin. Arguing against a piecemeal approach to banking and bail-out reforms, he said a "big bang" would be more effective economically.

However, he admitted that forcing the pace of political union would be "extraordinarily fraught".

He said measures to make voters feel closer to the European project would be vital, but that a popular election for a president would work. …

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