Setback for Tony Blair's ambition to be president of Europe
2009-07-02 0:00

By Ian Traynor | globalresearch.ca



Former prime minister, who is believed to be considering bidding for the post, faces stiffening opposition from Sweden and Spain

Tony Blair's ambition to become Europe's first president have been set back by stiffening opposition from Sweden and Spain, the two countries chairing the EU for the next year.

Senior officials in Stockholm, which assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the EU today, said they feared a President Blair would be a divisive figure, triggering friction between small and large European countries, and added that Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, was even more strongly opposed to Blair securing the post and usurping Madrid's running of the union next year.

The decision to appoint a new sitting European president, for a maximum of five years, is to be taken before the end of the year if Ireland votes yes in October in a referendum on the Lisbon treaty streamlining the way the EU is run and also creating the new post.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish prime minister, made clear his aversion to Blair securing the plum post, without mentioning the former prime minister by name.

"The small countries don't want a strong leader because they fear he will be run by the big [EU] countries," said Reinfeldt.

European governments had to decide whether the post ought to be turned into "a strong leader for Europe" or whether the president's role should be limited to chairing EU summits and "not putting the [European] commission president in the shadow," said the Swedish prime minister.

It was clear he preferred the latter role, a lower profile and less influential function that would probably be less attractive to Blair.

The former prime minister is believed to be strongly considering bidding for the post. Former close aides have indicated they could be moving to Brussels. But no announcement of a candidacy is expected until after the Irish referendum.

When Blair's name first surfaced for the position last year, it quickly became clear that he had the support of France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, but was opposed by Berlin, where the chancellor, Angela Merkel, is said to prefer a more limited role for the president and a weaker figure.

That situation may no longer obtain. Sarkozy is said to have gone cool on Blair and could support Felipe Gonzlez, the former Spanish prime minister, while Merkel's opposition seems to have diminished despite the fact that Blair is widely mistrusted in Germany for his role in the Iraq war and because he failed to use his 10 years in Downing Street to put Britain "at the heart of Europe".

Privately, senior Swedish officials questioned the merits of a Blair presidency. Running the EU for the next year, the Swedish and Spanish governments enjoy agenda-setting powers that could complicate a Blair bid.

The Briton's main assets, however, are name and brand recognition, international contacts, and the absence, so far, of any serious rival for the post.

Last year, the Germans were said to be backing either Jean-Claude Juncker, the veteran prime minister of Luxembourg, or Wolfgang Schssel, the former Austrian chancellor. Both are no longer mentioned as credible contenders.

Jean-Claude Juncker & Wolfgang Schssel


Rather than names, the Swedes want to concentrate on settling the job description and defining the role and powers for the new post.

The job of European president, held for a maximum of two terms of 30 months, is established by the Lisbon treaty, along with the new post of European foreign policy chief, who is also to be a vice-president of the European commission.

The president is to be appointed by European heads of state or government, but the role and powers have yet to be agreed, except that the person should be a former president or prime minister.

British diplomats say that the first president will shape the role, while the Swedes say the job description should precede the appointment.

Article from: globalresearch.ca



Related Articles
Tony Blair set to become EU chief as Sarkozy battles to win him the post
Blair steps up fight to be crowned first 'President of EU'
Tony Blair converts to Catholicism
Witchcraft and nail clippings: the weird world of Cherie Blair?
Blair rejects calls for probe into London bombings


Latest News from our Front Page

Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female
2015-04-25 4:52
Shieldmaidens are not a myth! A recent archaeological discovery has shattered the stereotype of exclusively male Viking warriors sailing out to war while their long-suffering wives wait at home with baby Vikings. (We knew it! We always knew it.) Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole “rape and pillage” thing, too. Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided ...
Off Your Knees, Germany! Ernst Zundel 1983 - 2003
2015-04-25 1:15
For more information on the holocaust, how the war was forced upon Germany, and the REAL victims of the second world war see: http://gblt.webs.com/Real_Holocaust.htm http://web.archive.org/web/20130806074314/http://www.666blacksun.org/ http://www.zundelsite.org/
IRS Drops Attack For Six Years – No Evidence of Jurisdiction
2015-04-24 20:29
A big congrats to a friend I’ve been working with for several years, he stood up to the predators commonly called the “IRS” and they dropped their attack. Thanks also for providing me with the proof below. The criminals called the “IRS” initiated an attack claiming my friend was required to file six tax returns, or explain how he made ...
Into Eternity - Finland's 100,000 Year Massive Underground Spent Nuclear Fuel Program
2015-04-24 20:49
Into Eternity is a documentary about a deep geological repository for nuclear waste. The concept of long-term underground storage for radioactive waste has been explored since the 1950s. The inner part of the Russian doll-like storage canisters is to be composed of copper. Hence in the case of Onkalo it is tightly linked to experiments on copper corrosion in running ...
SPLC Accuses Oath Keepers of Inciting “Armed Confrontation” Over Sugar Pine Mine
2015-04-24 20:22
The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Oath Keepers of inciting an armed confrontation with BLM authorities over the Sugar Pine Mine dispute in Oregon, despite the fact that the organization has explicitly stated that it is not promoting armed confrontation with the feds. In an article provocatively posted on the organization’s ‘Hatewatch’ section entitled Oath Keepers Descend Upon Oregon with ...
More News »