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Our new EU President - a Luxemburger chosen by a Frog

Oh democracy!
If voting changed anything, they'd abolish it!
Well, knowing it would change things, Europe decided to abolish voting in things that matter.

The Economist blog 'Certain ideas of Europe' asks whether Nicolas Sarkozy's apparent backing for Tony Blair to be the first President of Europe is actually a distraction from his preferred candidate - Jean-Claude Juncker - who, it notes, "is pretty much Britain's nightmare candidate for the post". It says: "this blogger has long assumed that Mr Sarkozy was backing Mr Blair, or at least allowing people to think he was, in the knowledge that the former British prime minister would probably fail to get the presidency post. At which point, Mr Sarkozy could say he had been grievously disappointed, and now required such-and-such a concession from his European partners to assuage his grief: whereupon he would name what he really wanted."

The Coulisses de Bruxelles blog reports that "Many people in Brussels think that the candidate must come from a country belonging to the heart of Europe, in other words, a member of the eurozone. Blair, even though he is internationally known, is too politically tainted."

Re: Our new EU President - a Luxemburger chosen by a Frog

From the Telegraph

Tony Blair 'cannot be president of EU'

Last Updated: 2:07am GMT 18/01/2008

Tony Blair should not be president of Europe, two former French leaders have declared in response to the backing the former prime minister has been given by Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France.

Valérie Giscard d'Estaing, the former French president and the father of the now defunct EU constitutional treaty, said that Europe's first president must have majority support from his home country, which should be a nation that "respects all its European commitments". Something that he claimed Britain did not do.

"Tony Blair cannot be president of Europe," agreed Edouard Balladur, the former conservative French prime minister close to Mr Sarkozy, writing in yesterday's Le Monde newspaper.

Despite his "declarations of good intent," for 10 years, Mr Blair "did nothing to put an end to Britain's special status", with its opt-outs in the fields of justice and home affairs and non-membership of the euro and border-free Schengen zone. Moreover, he went on, Mr Blair is far too close to America to build an independent Europe.

The powerful post of president of the European council, replacing the current system of six-month rotating presidencies, is proposed under the Lisbon Treaty which European countries are in the process of ratifying.

Mr Sarkozy stated last year that Mr Blair and the prime minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, a declared believer in a United States of Europe, were obvious candidates for the top EU post.

However, there is mounting scepticism, given the depth of feeling in Brussels and in several European capitals, against a Blair candidacy.

Accepting the post would oblige Mr Blair to give up a recently signed part-time post with J P Morgan, the US-based investment bank, which could earn him £2 million a year.

He would also have to drop his diplomatic role as a Middle East envoy on behalf of western nations.

Another contender for EU president is Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister.