Tony Blair: President of Europe?

Britain’s Europe Minister Glenys Kinnock has confirmed that former Prime Minister Tony Blair will receive the full support of the British government in his candidature for European Union president. If appointed, Blair would become the first sitting president of the EU for a term of any time between 30 months and five years. Despite Britain’s ...

583529_090715_Blair_Gerard_Cerles_AFP_Getty_images25.jpg
583529_090715_Blair_Gerard_Cerles_AFP_Getty_images25.jpg

Britain's Europe Minister Glenys Kinnock has confirmed that former Prime Minister Tony Blair will receive the full support of the British government in his candidature for European Union president. If appointed, Blair would become the first sitting president of the EU for a term of any time between 30 months and five years. Despite Britain's failure to join the euro, Blair appears to be a strong candidate for the position, with what Lady Kinnock calls the necessary "strength of character" and "status".

Also on board the President-Blair train is Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who described him as the "ideal personality" to be EU president. And, though he may now be looking elsewhere, French President Nicolas Sarkozy had at one time been a key proponent of both the creation of the presidency and Blair's bid in particular, saying:

He is intelligent, he is brave and he is a friend. We need him in Europe. How can we govern a continent of 450 million people if the president changes every six months and has to run his own country at the same time?

Britain’s Europe Minister Glenys Kinnock has confirmed that former Prime Minister Tony Blair will receive the full support of the British government in his candidature for European Union president. If appointed, Blair would become the first sitting president of the EU for a term of any time between 30 months and five years. Despite Britain’s failure to join the euro, Blair appears to be a strong candidate for the position, with what Lady Kinnock calls the necessary “strength of character” and “status”.

Also on board the President-Blair train is Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who described him as the “ideal personality” to be EU president. And, though he may now be looking elsewhere, French President Nicolas Sarkozy had at one time been a key proponent of both the creation of the presidency and Blair’s bid in particular, saying:

He is intelligent, he is brave and he is a friend. We need him in Europe. How can we govern a continent of 450 million people if the president changes every six months and has to run his own country at the same time?

In past, British ministers have said that announcing a potential candidate is premature to the creation of the position itself. Unsurprisingly, it still is. The post of EU president is dependent on an October 2 referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty. 26 out of 27 EU member states have already approved ratification of the treaty, but Irish voters rejected it 53.4 to 46.6 percent in June 2008.

Blair is careful not to get ahead of himself. A spokesman for the current Middle East envoy later responded:

As we have said, time and again on this, there is nothing to be a candidate for since the job doesn’t actually exist.


Gerard Cerles/AFP/Getty images

Aditi Nangia is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

Oleg Salyukov salutes to soldiers during Russia’s Victory Day parade.
Oleg Salyukov salutes to soldiers during Russia’s Victory Day parade.

Stop Falling for Russia’s Delusions of Perpetual Victory

The best sources on the war are the Ukrainians on the ground.

A fire rages at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver, Russia
A fire rages at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver, Russia

Could Sabotage Stop Putin From Using the Nuclear Option?

If the West is behind mysterious fires in Russia, the ongoing—but deniable—threat could deter Putin from escalating.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, in Mombasa, Kenya.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, in Mombasa, Kenya.

While America Slept, China Became Indispensable

Washington has long ignored much of the world. Beijing hasn’t.

A bulldozer demolishes an illegal structure during a joint anti-encroachment drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation
A bulldozer demolishes an illegal structure during a joint anti-encroachment drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation

The World Ignored Russia’s Delusions. It Shouldn’t Make the Same Mistake With India.

Hindu nationalist ideologues in New Delhi are flirting with a dangerous revisionist history of South Asia.