Blair steps up fight to be crowned first 'President of EU'
2009-04-08 0:00

By Jane Merrick | independent.co.uk



Tony Blair has emerged as the leading candidate to become the first permanent president of the European Union after Gordon Brown gave his grudging blessing to the plan. The former prime minister has stepped up his campaign for the job, which he wants to use to build a bridge between Europe and the new Obama administration.

His return to the global stage would be a shock to his critics over the Iraq war and dismay many in Europe.

But The Independent on Sunday has learnt that Mr Brown has accepted that his old rival should be in pole position for the appointment, on the basis that Britain needs to have a key figure in the architecture of the "new world order".

A senior British official said: "He [Brown] will have to swallow hard to sit down in meetings once again with Blair. But he accepts that there needs to be someone from the UK in the new global architecture. There is no opposition to the plan. Things have moved on, people have moved on."

Other European leaders are also broadly supportive because they want a high-profile figure to represent the 27-nation bloc in the new alliance with the US administration. Mr Blair remains a popular figure in the US.

After initially trying to block Mr Blair as a possible candidate last year, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has thrown his weight behind the former prime minister.

As the eyes of the world were on London's G20 summit last Wednesday, Mr Blair held private talks with the European Commission President Jos Manuel Barroso in Brussels. The talks focused on his work as Middle East envoy to the quartet of world powers, but it is almost certain that the two men discussed his candidacy. The former premier also visited Sweden last week, where he shared a platform with Bill Clinton at a climate change conference.

The presidency job is dependant on Ireland voting "yes" to the Lisbon Treaty, which creates the position. The Irish referendum will take place in the autumn.

But Mr Blair's plans could still be scuppered if Angela Merkel loses the German general election in September. She is thought to have a strong desire for the job in the event of defeat.

Britain has already thrown its weight behind Mr Barroso to serve a second term as Commission President. His re-appointment would also strengthen the chances of a British name for the new job.

Mr Blair will have spent two years in the Middle East role by July, giving him a legitimate opportunity to claim he has devoted enough time to the job.

But critics will say Mr Blair has failed to make any significant breakthrough. There is also little chance of progress towards the two-state solution under the new hardline Israeli government led by Binyamin Netanyahu.

In a sign that Mr Blair's mind is on an exit from the Middle East, he said in Brussels: "I think the next six months will be completely critical in determining whether this process will move forward or whether it will slip back. I do believe that if there is not significant progress in the year 2009, the peace process will be in very great jeopardy, because there are decisions that have to be taken."

Source: independent.co.uk



Related Articles
Tony Blair set to become EU chief as Sarkozy battles to win him the post
Tony Blair converts to Catholicism
Witchcraft and nail clippings: the weird world of Cherie Blair?
Tony Blair & Wife Perform Chant Ritual To Lizards/Pyramid In Mexico
Blair rejects calls for probe into London bombings
New EU foreign policy think tank created - European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
Operation Sarkozy
Leading author claims Sarkozy is 'Napoleon in a suit'
Nigel Farage on the New Euro-Nationalists (Video)
EU Constitution author says referendums can be ignored
Sarkozy and Mandelson 'strike a deal to get top EU job for Blair'


Latest News from our Front Page

German Government Evict Poor Germans From Their Homes For Migrant Asylum Seekers
2015-09-03 2:40
This is a video of a report on replacement of poor Germans with Middle Eastern asylum seekers. This was made broudcasted on a German Left-leaning TV station on August 28, 2015. It's original title: The most poor of the poor have to vacate their homes for asylum seekers. Source: youtube.com
Black Lives Matter Radio Host Calls for Killing Whites and Police
2015-09-03 1:48
“It’s open season on killing whites and police officers." A blogtalkradio program associated with the Black Lives Matter movement spewed racist hate and called for a race war Monday, reports Breitbart. The YouTube video of the audio recording has since been removed as a violation of YouTube's policy prohibiting hate speech, but Breitbart has video (below) of the host "King Noble" making the comments, taken from ...
Irish will be an ethnic minority in Ireland by 2050
2015-09-02 22:32
The former President of Dublin City University says that Ireland’s natives will be a minority in the country by the middle of this century... Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski was referring to unpublished and unidentified United Kingdom based research. Speaking at the conferring ceremony at DCU on Tuesday he said that the Irish in Ireland will be a minority by 2050 while ...
Immigrant Crisis Is the Final Nail in the EU Coffin
2015-09-02 21:23
One of the biggest flaws with the EU, was the idea that they could house dozens of cultures with distinct histories and languages, all under one roof, and expect them to thrive. You can’t hold 28 nations together under one union, when all of these countries have wildly different interests, expectations, and priorities. Every time the EU faces a problem, ...
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
2015-09-02 19:43
Documents seen by The Independent show children are taught about the horrors of the Holocaust when they are still in kindergarten at the Beis Rochel boys’ school in north London. A whistle-blower, who wished to remain anonymous, has shown The Independent a worksheet given to boys aged three and four at the school. In it, children were asked to complete questions ...
More News »