The multi-million-pound organisation run by Remain-backing former prime minister Sir Tony Blair is to open an EU lobbying arm in Brussels.
The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI), a non-profit that posted just over £66million in revenues last year, says it plans ‘to develop, build and nurture strategic partnerships’ with Eurocrats.
It comes after Sir Tony’s organisation said last month that a future Labour government should copy and paste EU rules to reduce trade frictions with the bloc.
Britain and Brussels have been locked in a long-running row over post-Brexit trading rules for Northern Ireland that de facto keeps the province inside the EU’s single market and customs union.
The TBI said the UK should mirror Brussels standards to rebuild trade ties.
Sir Keir Starmer has said he has been taking advice from Sir Tony on how to run the country if wins the next election.
Many believe the former prime minister is using the TBI to draw up a new agenda for the centre-Left, including on Europe.
A Labour Party spokesman failed to reply to the Mail’s request for comment as to whether the Leader of the Opposition is also seeing advice from Sir Tony on Britain’s ties with Brussels.
David Miliband, who served as foreign secretary under Labour, said last month that aligning with Brussels diktats was ‘common sense.’
Sir Tony has already recruited Seamus Jeffreson, a former senior European Commission official, to run the operation that promises to ‘coordinate policy’ with the EU.
The highest-paid director at Sir Tony’s institute rakes in just over £410,000 a year, according to the organisation’s latest financial statement.
Launched in December 2016, the former prime minister said the organisation would oppose ‘populism’ and its ‘essentially close-minded approach to globalisation.’
Sir Tony himself repeatedly called for a second referendum in a bid to reverse the 2016 result.
The plans by the TBI to hire staff in the Belgian capital emerged online days after the report calling for Britain to follow large swathes of EU law was published.
According to the bloc’s transparency register, the TBI has no lobbyists registered with the EU institutions.
Yet senior staff managed to secure talks with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen last year.
They also held two meetings with ex-Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at key moments in the talks.