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Blair Urges EU to Renew Itself

Tony Blair

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the European Union must renew itself to meet the challenges of the modern world.

Mr. Blair delivered a speech before the European Parliament in Brussels Thursday, setting out Britain's priorities as it prepares to take over the EU's rotating presidency next month.

He said he still believes in political and economic integration and urged continued expansion despite the recent rejection of the EU's proposed constitution in France and the Netherlands and the failure to agree on a long-term EU budget.

Mr. Blair said his critics are misrepresenting Britain when they say it simply wants the EU's 25 member nations to become an economic free trade zone.

He said he backs a social Europe and that he has always been a passionate pro-European.