We might reach an agreement on the budget when everybody understands that it should be equal for all. Our net contribution, for the last decade, has been twice and a half as much as that of France. Without the discount, it would be 15 times higher. I’m not against discussing this discount. But it is important that people understand that the discount is only a checking mechanism in a payment system, which would otherwise be blatantly unfair. I’d like the budget to be analyzed again as a whole and not to spend so much in farming.
I think that the negative reaction toward Europe is the same in France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany, where, there is absolutely no doubt about it, would be really difficult to win a referendum in case one was done. That should be taken into account. Nevertheless, a new commitment to the financial issue wouldn’t respond to true expectations. What worries people is economy, globalization, China’s and India’s growth, low-cost salary economies that produce goods with great added values, security, immigration, organized crime, human smuggling... and so forth. We don’t want to create a free exchange club in Europe. To talk of the “Anglo-Saxon model” to define this is certainly an absolute contradiction in terms.
We are in favor of a very strong social dimension, but such social dimension should be in harmony with the present world. We live in a world that constantly demands our flexibility and adaptation.
I was in favor of the Constitution and I consider that we’ll always need a good set of rules to govern the future of Europe. I wouldn’t say that the text is dead, but it should be pointed out that it cannot be imposed as such. I deem it suitable to take some time now and think about it. To continue with the referendums, in my personal opinion, would be pointless for the moment.
My work at the presidency of the Union will be hard. We will attend to the economic reform. We will see that part of the regulations on the societies in Europe becomes less strict; that Brussels focuses on what people are interested in without unnecessarily interfering in other aspects; that we act coordinately against organized crime and immigration. And let’s not forget about the environment and the aid for development. People need see that Europe is doing something!

Le Figaro (France)
Circulation: 350 000 copies. Property of Socpresse (founded by Robert Hersant, it is owned today by planes manufacturer Serge Dassault). This is the reference journal of the French right.

Il faut une pause de réflexion sur la Constitution”, by Tony Blair, Le Figaro, June 15, 2005. This text was adapted from an interview.