Thursday, 14 February 2008

Tony Blair is Resurgent on the International Scene

Will the British former Prime Minister Tony Blair be the first person to hold the powerful new position of President of the European Council, due to be established in 2009? This is the question being asked in British, European and international political circles, and increasingly the answer is 'yes'.

It is understood that Blair wants the job - on condition that it is not just a symbolic or bureaucratic job but one that brings him real political power, fulfilling his dream of becoming a major player on the international political stage. However, the position is a new post created under the Lisbon Treaty signed last December at a summit in the Portuguese capital, and its exact nature, scope and power are still not decided. In fact the first person to hold the position will play a major part and influence in how the role of EU President develops. Some of Blair's critics fear he will use the position to influence EU policy on the basis of what many see as his simplistic, shallow view of the world and of politics.

Blair is consulting some of his closest allies over a campaign to the launched later this year to become the EU President. The strongest public supporter of his candidacy for the post is the French president Nicola Sarkozy.

Blair has discussed the possibility of his being considered for the position of EU President with his successor as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Downing Street is reported to be willing to give his backing to Blair's candidacy, but it is urging Blair to declare publicly his interest in the job soon. In reality, Brown has little choice but to support Blair as a British candidate for the job. However, given the past history of rivalry and hostility between Blair and Brown, Brown must have mixed feelings about the prospect of Blair becoming EU President.

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