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Blair's Chances Dim

by nanne Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 10:21:58 AM EST

The British press is reporting that Blair's chances for getting the European Council Presidency are all but over. From the Guardian:

Sarkozy, the French president, and Merkel, the German chancellor, discussed the new EU president at a dinner at the Elysée palace on Wednesday. They are understood to have agreed that the post should be filled from the main centre-right EPP grouping, which brings together the parties currently ruling most EU countries.

The French made clear in Brussels last night that Blair was losing their support. Jean-David Levitte, Sarkozy's most senior foreign affairs adviser, said: "The UK is not in the eurozone, nor in the Schengen [free travel area in the EU] and it has a number of opt outs. These are not advantageous in this search for a candidate."

In a separate Guardian piece, Angela Merkel is said to have delivered the final blow, without having ever gone on the record in any way.

Senior German sources said that at the crucial dinner on Wednesday evening, the two leaders did not discuss names for the two plum new posts of Europe president and foreign minister. They did, however, discuss the mandate for the presidential post. The Germans made clear that Merkel had no problem recommending a contender from a small EU member state.

The focus is now seemingly on Balkenende. One reason he might get the Presidency that hasn't been mentioned in the press is that it would take the Netherlands out of the running for one of the main economy posts in the Commission, which France and Germany have set their sights on.

Stop Blair!


The Guardian also reports that Zapatero has said that he's in favour of a socialist in the post of High Representative rather than European Council President (see koksapir's diary on Miliband) and in other news, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said that the decision will be taken in consensus. From the Telegraph:

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini delivered a blow to Mr Blair's hopes when he said that the choice of future president should be "unanimous and the result of consensus" among the 27 EU member states.

Frattini and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had previously indicated they were warm towards Blair's candidacy.

"That's true," Frattini added, "but the entry into the fray of Mr Juncker and (Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter) Balkenende changes the picture," he said.

"We cannot imagine a divided Europe. We must find a consensus."

The framework conditions are that the President of the Council will come from the EPP and the High Representative will come from the PES. Unfortunately, they seem likely to be two men.

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If Jean-David Levitte makes such a statement, it means Sarkozy has dropped supporting Blair. Levitte is a very serious source. A former ambassador to the UN and to the USA, he was Jacques Chirac's foreign affairs adviser. His nickname is "Diplomator"...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 10:55:19 AM EST

  "Blair's chances Dim"---

best news since the head-line

       "Thatcher arrested"

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 11:32:11 AM EST
No one needs to go into the details about Blair and his decent into ignominy. The "Bush" name is reason enough.

And the sooner this guy gets booted from his ineffectual position as Middle East envoy for the EU, the better. He needs to be retired so that he can write his autobiography, entitled, I Am Not Guilty.


by shergald on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 12:59:11 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 02:10:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
"The focus is now seemingly on Balkenende."

"Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said that the decision will be taken in consensus."

"Sarkozy, the French president, and Merkel, the German chancellor, discussed the new EU president at a dinner at the Elysée palace on Wednesday. They are understood to have agreed that the post should be filled from the main centre-right EPP grouping, which brings together the parties currently ruling most EU countries."

The dark horse in the race: JP Balkenende.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 01:31:25 PM EST
Dark horse? More like front runner. Dark horse would be Freiberga, for example.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 1st, 2009 at 02:44:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com | Summit chatter lifts Miliband in race for EU foreign policy job | Brussels Blog
The killer blow to Blair's prospects was delivered by Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, who let it be known that she would prefer the EU's first permanent president to come from one of the EU's smaller states.  By definition, this rules out Blair.
...

Meanwhile, Blair has lost the support of José Sócrates, Portugal's prime minister, and of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain's prime minister.  Both are socialists and both think Europe's centre-left should focus not on getting the presidency but the foreign policy job.

According to Jean Quatremer, Merkel and Sarkozy have agreed to support the same candidate, but didn't say who it was. It is clear that it will not be Tony Blair. The favourite seems to be Jan Peter Balkenende.

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 03:55:57 PM EST
Balkenende and Milliband would be a seriously bad combination. Gah.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 04:46:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't forget Barroso!

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 05:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone forgets Poland even though Poland is not yet lost. But we have Buzek. And of course Schulz will follow him for the second part of the term...
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 07:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Buzek a Bush sycophant, too?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 05:30:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Miliband? Buzek had only one opportunity to meet with Bush before he was out of office, by which time he was heading a minority government. Amazingly, Bush' handlers seem to have been aware of this and Buzek has come off without any embarrassing praise in either direction, that I can find.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 07:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to EurActiv, Faymann, Zapatero and Poul Nyrup Rasmussen are doing the dealing for the socialists:
It has been agreed in principle that if a centre-right-affiliated politician becomes Council president, the high representative would be selected from the socialists' ranks. The socialists even set up a 'troika' to negotiate the job, consisting of Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the president of the Party of European Socialists.

The Socialist group in the European Parliament also reportedly has a "shortlist" of candidates, namely Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, Romanian MEP Adrian Severin and three former foreign ministers, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Elisabeth Guigou of France and Alfred Gusenbauer of Austria.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 30th, 2009 at 07:09:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The mood in the spanish newspapers and radio stations with journalists interested in European issues discard any spanish candidate... but the mood is not favorable to Blair.

Iraq war, basically.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 01:31:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK - Blair has not given up on EU presidency

Tony Blair yesterday refused to throw in the towel as a potential European Union president, in spite of evidence that Europe will choose its new head from a cast-list of relatively unknown figures on the world stage.

The two-day EU summit in Brussels ended with Mr Blair's candidacy looking doomed. However, he was said by aides to be "relaxed" and British officials still hope he can win through when Europe has a closer look at the options.

A decision on who should take Europe's top jobs has been deferred until another summit - probably on November 10 or 12.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 10:05:08 AM EST
It's like you said. Blair's chances are now very slim, though, with Juncker and Lipponen both stepping into the fray and Frattini indicating that there will be a consensual decision (e.g. no big countries overruling the 'dwarfs').
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 11:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do the Blairites Have a Plan B?

Blairites don't tend to be delusional, they are political realists, so why try to make their champion President of Europe? Half of Europe thinks he is a neo-con, war criminal.  There is no way he would be acceptable to most European social democrats and in any event it is probably going to go to a centre-right figure in the undemocratic Buggin's turn way Brussels works.

The high representative of the council is pencilled in for a socialist on the same basis - a sort of undemocratic consolation prize.  There is talk, denied by David Miliband, that he himself is a strong candidate for that position.  Could it be some Machiavellian / Mandelsonian plot to get him the job?  The Dark Lord's mind is subtle in his strategies, David Miliband is the anointed heir to Blair and the person to whom the Dark Lord plans perhaps in the future to play regent.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 11:39:14 AM EST
Fawkes would say so of course, the President of a body of government leaders being chosen by these government leaders is just your typical undemocratic Brussels.

And the latest turn of events is always evidence of a longstanding Blairite plot.

My dear. These people have been in the opposition for way too long. They look at NuLabour and see masters of strategy instead of a bungling dispirited bunch whose only chance at retaining power is the Tories screwing up.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 11:59:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 31st, 2009 at 12:14:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I seemed to notice that, when it became clear that Blair's chances would be small, the British media started calling the position "president of the European council", whereas they had previously talked about Europe president.

A notable exception would be the Guardian, titling that Blair's chances to become the first European president were fading.

Was it just my imagination? Or did they start spinning the googly the moment it became clear that the legbreak wouldn't do?
OK, for those non cricketers, spinning the other way as soon as it seemed that he wouldn't get it. So they can safely say that the position didn't matter in any case.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 2nd, 2009 at 03:44:19 AM EST


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