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Blair takes over EU helm at crisis point

Tony Blair takes the helm of the European Union tomorrow in the midst of the biggest political crisis in its history.
An accident of timing finds the Prime Minister moving into the EU presidency hot seat in the wake of growing public discontent and deepening rifts among the member states about the Union's direction.

For the rest of the year Mr Blair and senior government ministers will not only run the routine EU agenda, but also try to resolve the EU's budget crisis and restore support after the disastrous French and Dutch rejections of the constitutional treaty.