Europe has come through crisis, Britain's Blair says

Europe has emerged from a period of crisis into a promising new era, Prime Minister Tony Blair said in remarks prepared for delivery Thursday. Blair planned to say a new generation of leaders was bringing a fresh consensus to the European Union after a difficult 2005 marked by wrangling over the bloc's budget and French and Dutch voters' rejection of a proposed constitution, according to the prepared remarks.

"After all these (obstacles), there has never been a better time to be optimistic in Europe or enthusiastic about Britain's part in it," said excerpts of Blair's evening speech, released in advance by his office.

"Europe has emerged from its darkened room. It has a new generation of leaders. A new consensus is forming. Yes, there is still a debate to be had, but the argument in favor of an open Europe is winning," the excerpts said, reports the AP. I.L.

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