PositionTony Blair

After his eight years at Number 10, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's ambitions of leaving a powerful political legacy at home and in Europe remain undimmed. Ever the consummate political performer, he dominated the European stage in June by blocking a deal on the 2007-13 budget in a last-ditch bid to modernise the EU and its spending priorities. In July, he even sold his vision to the European Parliament - the day after it had applauded Jean-Claude Juncker's attacks on him for seeking to reduce the EU to a free trade zone by rejecting the Luxembourg Presidency compromise.

But as Tony Blair's political authority in the UK crumbles further in the face of cabinet splits and ministerial resignation, the chances of him leaving his mark on EU affairs are also receding. By keeping out of the euro-zone, he has already failed in his aim of putting the UK at the centre of EU affairs. Now his hopes of a radical budget deal before the end of the British Presidency in December are looking increasingly vain.

Since consensus on the Juncker plan was so close in June, Blair's credibility hangs on winning an agreement that he can claim is significantly different.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso recently obliged the UK Presidency with a five point plan which could provide exactly the window...

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