These three things will change the world today.
1. Blair wants Britons to rise up against Brexit
Ex-prime minister Tony Blair has called on the British public to change their minds about Brexit and “rise up” against the referendum decisions.
During a speech in the City of London, he claimed that people voted in the referendum “without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit”.
Former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, a prominent Leave campaigner, called Blair’s comments arrogant, undemocratic, and said it showed the political elite was out of touch with the British people.
Despite Blair’s rallying call, Downing Street has reiterated that it is absolutely committed to seeing Brexit through. Today, Theresa May is hosting the French prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve in London and is expected to say the UK will not ‘cherry-pick’ parts of EU membership after Brexit.
May wrote an article in French newspaper Le Figaro ahead of today’s meeting to praise the relationship between Britain and France. She said the UK will remain an open and tolerant country and that French people will always be welcome here.
It appears France does not necessarily regard the UK in the same light. A major report by France’s senate on Thursday said Britain must not be allowed to leave the EU in a better-of position than it is in now. It appears the French parliament is against the UK being given access to the EU’s single market.
2. US vice president Mike Pence thinks Europe is an “indispensable partner”
US vice president Mike Pence is on his way to Europe to attend the annual Munich Security conference.
In what will be the first major foreign address for the Trump administration, Pence is expected to say that Europe is an “indispensable partner” for the US.
An adviser previewing Pence’s trip said: “We are the most secure and most prosperous when both the US and Europe are strong and united.”
The speech is expected to soothe Nato allies and reaffirm US commitment to Europe after Trump has ruffled feathers with his unorthodox statements on the alliance and Russia.
During his time in Munich, Pence will hold a series of meetings with the German chancellor Angel Merkel and the Ukranian president Petro Poroshenko, amongst others.
Despite Trump’s apparent fondness for Russia and Putin, Pence is expected to stand firm on economic sanctions on Russia because of its aggression against the Ukraine.
3. Budapest’s 2024 Olympic bid could face referendum
A Hungarian political movement Momentum has collected more than 200,000 signatures on a petition against Budapest’s 2024 Olympics bid. This has raised the prospect of a referendum discussing the bid.
Hungary is bidding to become the first Eastern European country to host the Summer games in the post-Communist era, competing against Paris and Los Angeles.
However, Momentum wants a referendum to ask the public: “Do you agree that the Budapest municipality should withdraw its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics?”
A poll conducted in January by the Zavecz Research institute showed that 51.95 percent of Budapest citizens would vote against the Olympics. In a separate study commissioned by the bid organisers in December, around 55 percent of the city’s citizens backed hosting the Games.
Momentum believes that the Hungarian government should spend the huge budget for the Games on issues such as healthcare and education, and instead bid for host position when the country is more prosperous.
The hosts for the 2024 Olympics will be announced in Peru in September.