Author: Mario Ledwith
Tony Blair yesterday told the EU to overhaul its approach to immigrationto stem the growing influence of hard-line leaders.
The former Prime Minister said the bloc faced an ‘insidious and dangerous challenge’ that would be worsened by ignoring concerns about immigration.
His intervention comes despite his decision not to introduce border restrictions to new EU countries in 2004 being blamed for fuelling anti-immigration sentiment in the UK.
Tony Blair is campaigning to reverse Brexit and is urging the EU to rethink its approach to the referendum
Mr Blair, who is campaigning to reverse Brexit, said immigration was a key driver behind the referendum result and urged EU politicians to show they had ‘heard the message’.
‘To put it in blunt contemporary terms: there will be no release from Brexit unless we understand and deal with why people voted for it,’ he said. ‘[There will be] no end to European turmoil without tackling its causes, economic and cultural.’
Speaking in Copenhagen, Mr Blair took aim at ‘populist’ leaders in countries such as Italy and Hungary who have pursued a hard-line approach to immigration that has caused a furious EU row.
He said: ‘If we want the anger driving populism to abate, we need answers, ones which rekindle our society’s optimism that the future can work for them.’
He said leaders should address ‘genuine concerns around migration’.