Insights from the UK and beyond
Is Blair the man for the EU job?
Once he was regarded as an obvious front-runner for the job of EU president, then it was pointed out that it was unlikely anyone would be chosen from a country that is not in the eurozone, not in the Schengen border-free area and which has an exemption to the bloc’s charter of fundamental rights.
Ah, but if you don’t choose someone with proven political clout to fight Europe’s corner, a G2 of China and the United States will have things all their own way soon, declared Foreign Secretary David Miliband over the weekend.
You need someone with a high profile who will stop the traffic in world capitals, he added.
Oh no, we don’t, several EU countries say. We want someone with a lower profile who will be better able to secure consensus among members states than Tony Blair.
Other detrators say they don’t want Blair because he backed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Conservatives in Britain have said that appointing him would be viewed by an incoming Tory government as a virtual act of war and that he runs the risk of being almost immediately thrust into controversy as the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war begins.
The actual decision is likely to be made at a summit next month. Meanwhile Blair himself seems to be standing on the sidelines, so much so that some of his supporters are urging him to launch a more dynamic campaign.
Do you believe Blair’s the man for the job?