Tony Blair’s bid for EU Presidency faces growing opposition

Two years out of No. 10 Downing Street, Tony Blair has a new ambition: becoming Europe’s first president under the Treaty of Lisbon. Under the new treaty (which will go into effect next year if Ireland ratifies it in an October referendum), the President of the European Council would be transformed from a rotating six-month ...

584139_090701_blair5.jpg
584139_090701_blair5.jpg

Two years out of No. 10 Downing Street, Tony Blair has a new ambition: becoming Europe's first president under the Treaty of Lisbon. Under the new treaty (which will go into effect next year if Ireland ratifies it in an October referendum), the President of the European Council would be transformed from a rotating six-month post to a newly powerful position that could be occupied by the same person for up to five years.

But while Blair is is the highest-profile politician to be considering the position, his candidacy is being met with rapidly growing opposition from other European states

Two years out of No. 10 Downing Street, Tony Blair has a new ambition: becoming Europe’s first president under the Treaty of Lisbon. Under the new treaty (which will go into effect next year if Ireland ratifies it in an October referendum), the President of the European Council would be transformed from a rotating six-month post to a newly powerful position that could be occupied by the same person for up to five years.

But while Blair is is the highest-profile politician to be considering the position, his candidacy is being met with rapidly growing opposition from other European states

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 José Luis Rodríguez 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 small countries don’t want a strong leader because they fear he will be run by the big [EU] countries,” said {Swedish prime minister Fredrik] Reinfeldt

Given how many different egos (both national and personal) are involved, a Blair bid would likely be the dramatic fight election junkies love. Stay tuned.

GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

James Downie is an editorial researcher at FP.
Tag: Europe

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.