BREXIT BLOCK: Brussels DENIES access to TOP SECRET second referendum talks with Tony Blair | UK | News

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Mr Blair, a prominent second referendum campaigner, met with the European Commission’s first vice-president Frans Timmermans and the bloc’s tax and finance chief Pierre Moscovici with Britain’s EU divorce on the table each time. Billionaire Hungarian philanthropist George Soros, who has helped fund anti-Brexit groups, also met with Mr Moscovici at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos. Details of the French commissioner’s meetings with Mr Blair and Mr Soros, in a document titled “Quick readout of a day and a half of sub-zero speed-dating in Davos”, have been heavily redacted by Brussels officials.

In a “readout” of Mr Moscovici’s discussions, meant for his most senior aides, the meeting is described as talks with “Soros and Blair: discussions with the two earliest backers of a ‘People’s Vote’.”

The next six lines of the document, which has since been released to the public, that reveal the finer details of discussions have been blocked out by officials.

In his next meeting, Mr Moscovici met with bankers from JP Morgan, Bank of America and Standard & Poors, where Brexit and Italy were described as the “main risks in Europe”.

The memo from his Davos trip also claims that “two-thirds” of media questions featured Britain’s EU divorce.

A Commission spokesman claimed revealing the full details of the meetings could be damaging to “the institution’s decision-making process”.

They added: “We have looked into the text carefully and did not assess that there would be an overriding public interest in disclosure of this parts of the document.”

The Commission was hiding behind its public access to documents regulation, which sets out the EU’s “concept of openness”.

In order to protect the bloc, officials can refuse access to certain documents because “certain public and private interests should be protected by way of exceptions”.

The regulation adds: “The institutions should be entitled to protect their internal consultations and deliberations where necessary to safeguard their ability to carry out their tasks.

“In assessing the exceptions, the institutions should take account of the principles in Community legislation concerning the protection of personal data, in all areas of Union activities.”

Officials have also refused to release details of a meeting between Mr Blair’s Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and Mr Timmerman in Brussels last November.

They claim that the “European Commission does not hold any documents” corresponding to the meeting.

Officials denied that any minutes were taken, presentations given or even emails sent in advance to arrange the gathering.



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