Tony Blair says UK may still join Eurozone

 

The eurozone is doomed unless Germany agrees to underwrite the debts of struggling members, Tony Blair warned today.

The former Prime Minister said the problems were now so serious that a "grand plan" was the only way to prevent a break-up.

However, he also suggested that Britain could still join the single currency area if it stabilised.

The intervention came as EU leaders prepare for a crunch summit this week that could determine the fate of the eurozone.

The difficulties intensified this morning when it emerged that newly-elected Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will miss the event after undergoing eye surgery.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Blair said: "The only thing that will save the single currency now is in a sense a sort of grand plan in which Germany is prepared to commit its economy fully to the single currency.

"That means treating the debts of one as the debts of all, which is very hard for Germany to do.

"It means the other countries in the eurozone need to reform, need precise credible programmes of change to reform so that Europe can regain its competitiveness.

"Otherwise it is quite unfair to ask Germany to pay."

But Mr Blair - a prominent Europhile - refused to accept that the single currency's troubles meant the UK would never join.

"If they sort it all out and Europe moves forward again then Britain is going to have a very interesting choice to make," he said.

Mr Blair said he had never disagreed with Gordon Brown on the economics of euro membership - despite claims that the then-chancellor was responsible for blocking the UK's entry.

"I always took the view that economically you had to make an unambiguous case for Britain joining," he said. "Politically however, I was always in favour of keeping us very positive towards the project of European integration, and able to join at any time we wanted to do so."

The former premier said the "broad sweep of history" showed that European integration would continue regardless of the fate of the eurozone. Britain needed to protect its alliance with the EU in order to exercise influence, he added.

He also appeared to hint that he would be interested in the role of EU president in the future.

"I have always said I am a public service person first. I would have been happy to carry on as Prime Minister, I would have been happy taking the European job as president of the EU," Mr Blair added.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power