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Thursday, March 24, 2016

'You got the Belgians running Europe?' George W. Bush to Tony Blair in 2001 at G8 meeting on learning that a Belgian was EU president-EU Observer

2010 article

9/2/2010, "'You got the Belgians running Europe?' Bush asked Blair," EUObserver.com. Honor Mahony

"Ex-UK prime minister Tony Blair has burst back onto the media landscape in the UK after a three-year absence with the publication of his keenly awaited memoir in which he also reveals his regrets about the EU and other titbits such as former US President George Bush not recognising the Belgian prime minister at a G8 meeting.

Entitled "A Journey" and responsible for a media frenzy in the UK, the memoir chronicles much of his domestic political struggles but also his fateful decision to go to war in Iraq and his close relationship with Mr Bush, the instigator of the global war on terror....

His closeness to Mr Bush gave him a few insights into the former president's thinking about Europe.

His book reveals that Mr Bush neither recognised former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt or knew what he was doing at a G8 meeting in 2001.

"He didn't know or recognise Guy, whose advice he listened to with considerable astonishment," Mr Blair writes. "He then turned to me and whispered, 'Who is this guy?' 'He is the prime minister of Belgium,' I said. "

Mr Bush then queried why he was there as Belgium is not part of the G8 leading Mr Blair to explain that he was currently EU president, under the rotating presidency system.

"You got the Belgians running Europe?" Mr Bush reportedly responded before shaking his head.

Mr Blair's 10-year term in office end in acrimony in 2007 when his long-term party rival Gordon Brown took over the reins."...



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