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December 2019

Discussion with Tony Blair


As the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and Institut Montaigne have been exploring areas of mutual collaboration, on Monday 18 November, we had the honor of hosting Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and current Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change, for a breakfast discussion moderated by Sophie Pedder, Paris Bureau Chief of The Economist. From Brexit to the future of the European Union in a fast-changing world, our guest shared thoughtful insights on the challenges of today’s world. For those of you who may be wishing that they were a fly on the wall, we are glad to share some takeaways from this exciting conversation:  

  • The possibility of a no-deal Brexit is still on the table, and the major negotiation to come, about the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe, will be challenging. 
  • If Brexit does happen:
    • The government will need to be pragmatic to ensure the best possible relations with the EU. Defense and security, but also technology, education, environment, have to be areas of cooperation.
    • A strategic relationship between EU member states is still possible and, above all, it is a requirement if the EU is to be equipped to meet external challenges. In this sense, Macron’s European Security Council proposal reminds Tony Blair of the Saint-Malo Agreement he made with Jacques Chirac. 
  • NATO’s role has to be reappraised and restructured, notably because France and the UK have the biggest defense assets and credibility in Europe and because the dependency of European security on American protection is unhealthy. 
  • By the middle of this century, the world will be dominated by very few giants that will sit on everyone else if no counter-power is introduced. Europe has a role to play and needs to think strategically before that happens. A new European coherence regarding technological innovation, defense and security is a requirement. 


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