The Prime Minister, Tony Blair today addressed the European Parliament in Brussels to mark the beginning of the British Presidency of the EU.
In setting out his vision for the next sixth months, Blair emphasized how the EU must listen to the messages the French and Dutch referenda have sent, and undertake a period of reform to make the EU competitive for today's economic challenges.
Blair went on to criticise Nigel Farage and UKIP, for their opportunism in light of the recent set backs to the EU. Blair lambasted Farage for using the EU's present difficulties as an opportunity to wreck it. However he urged EU leaders to persevere with the current challenges in the face of such extremism. Blair said: "Ideals survive through change, they die through inertia in the face of challenge."
Mr Blair claimed the debate on the EU's future was being misrepresented as a battle between a free market Europe a social Europe and a Europe of extremists. He said this was not the time for "trading insults".
Source: European Parliament minutes