Examination of Witnesses (Questions 460-461)|
4 JULY 2006
Q460 Mr McFall: Just to maintain
that theme, Prime Minister, in terms of relations with US and
Europe. The Treasury Committee is presently undertaking an inquiry
into globalisation and we have visited both China and India. I
think one of the main impressions that has been given to us is
that the sheer scale, scope and spread of the changes is enormous.
Whilst the rise of China and India is positive to the world economy
as a whole, the benefits will be unevenly spread. We have seen
the drift of manufacturing jobs in 2005, over one million to China
from Europe, America and Japan and the competitive strength of
China in manufacturing I think is unbeatable on that. Now the
way we react in Europe and America will be most important in determining
the future shape of both the US and the European economy. Some
would say though that we are on the brink of a very distressing
period both economically and environmentally and, indeed, socially.
If we are to avoid the rise of protectionism, which we have seen
in both the US and in Europe, and avoid negative international
and foreign policy relations, what do we do about it? This is
a prime for the next one.
Mr Blair: In a nutshell what we
do is realise that whatever differences there are between America
and Europe from time to time, what joins them together is infinitely
more important. Whether it is on the world economy or on how we
deal with extremism or how we defend values of democracy and tolerance,
in the end America and Europe in my view should stick and stand
together. If we do that, particularly with the rise of China that
I believe, incidentally, is a benign development, do not misunderstand
me but I think it is particularly important given the big change
that will happen in geopolitics in the next few years, which is
about the rise of China and then you have got India as well, of
course, and other countries too, and Russia, it is just axiomatic
to me that the Americans and the Europeans stick together. That
is why I think this transatlantic alliance is so important. That
is why I am absolutely sure really that it will always be of importance
to this country. The reason why foreign policy has dominated so
much of our discussion is that in today's world it is another
consequence of globalisation, it is going to dominate policy.
Domestic and foreign policy, the distinction between the two,
in my view, has never been more blurred than it is today.
Q461 Chairman: Prime Minister, you
initiated these series of meetings, and we have found them very
valuable, whatever anyone else may think. The press are always
cynical about what we do as parliamentarians. Would you recommend
to a successorsince this is the first time a prime minister
has been accountable to a committee of this Housethat he
should continue with these hearings in the light of your own experience?
Mr Blair: I think for my successor
you can make them weekly!
Chairman: In that case long may you continue!
Thank you, Prime Minister.