Friday

30th Oct 2020

Secret deal between EU-3 blocks Blair as EU president

  • According to media reports, Germany's Angela Merkel is not backing Tony Blair to become the new EU president (Photo: European Community, 2006)

UK prime minister Gordon Brown has agreed to a secret deal with Germany and France which effectively rules out Tony Blair as a new EU president but the British ex-leader is also interested in the new role of Europe's foreign chief, a UK daily is reporting.

"We have agreed with France and Germany not to back a candidate one of the others doesn't want," a British diplomat is quoted saying by the Independent.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

French President Nicolas Sarkozy previously backed Mr Blair as a possible candidate to head the EU's 27 member states while Mr Brown praised his potential qualities for the job but did not specifically back him.

At the same time, German chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly opposed to such a scenario, which means that - under a new deal referred to by the British diplomat in the article – her opposition would automatically spoil Mr Blair's chances of being supported by any of Europe's three biggest countries.

Apart from Tony Blair, the other candidate mentioned most often and thought to enjoy backing by Berlin and Paris is Luxembourg's prime minister and veteran of the EU stage, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The position of the EU's president is contained in the bloc's Lisbon Treaty under the official heading of President of the European Council. The European Council refers to the regular meetings of EU leaders.

Talks have begun on what kind of salary, personnel and other perks the president should have.

But the actual job description of the EU president – a job that can be held for up to five years - still has yet to be decided. While his or her appointment would replace the current practice whereby the bloc is headed by a different EU leader every six months, it is unclear whether the role will be merely administrative or something more powerful.

In chairing the 27-nation bloc, the EU president would work together with another post created by the Lisbon Treaty, the EU foreign minister.

The new post will merge together the chair of Javier Solana as the EU's current foreign policy chief and that of Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the current European commissioner for external relations.

According to the Independent, Tony Blair may also be interested in becoming the new EU foreign minister.

The Lisbon Treaty is scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2009.

Nine member states have already ratified the treaty, others are planning to hold a parliamentary vote at some stage this year. Only Ireland will decide by a referendum, due on 12 June.

EU commission on defensive over 'revolving doors'

The European Commission rubber-stamped over 99 percent requests by officials to take on jobs in the private sector, posing ethical questions in light of known examples where conflicts of interests appear to be clear cut.

Investigation

Violating promises and law, von der Leyen tests patience

Under EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, transparency was supposed to be a "guiding principle". Instead, the European Commission is asking Kafkaesque questions in response to an access to documents request, and failing to meet its legal deadline.

Future of Europe: EU Council urged to propose a chair

Since the German presidency promised the Conference on the Future of Europe would start under their leadership, the European Commission and MEPs hope the event will be launched soon. But there is one issue: who will chair the conference?

Nine-in-ten EU regions face revenue plunge, report finds

The decrease of revenues in 2020 of subnational authorities in France, Germany and Italy alone is estimated to be €30bn for the three countries, a new report by the European Committee of the Regions says.

EU Parliament sticks to demands in budget tussle

The parliament wants €38.5bn extra for key programmes, which is less than their previous request of around €100bn. Negotiations continue on Thursday, but the budget and recovery could still get stuck on the rule-of-law issue.

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

News in Brief

  1. Polish government rows back on abortion ruling
  2. EU threatens legal action against Poland on rule of law
  3. 'Several dead' after earthquake hits Greece and Turkey
  4. Hungary faces EU court over asylum restrictions
  5. Polish PM urges end to abortion protests to 'protect elderly'
  6. EU to fund cross-border hospital transfers
  7. Some 140 migrants drown on way to Spanish islands
  8. EU central bank preparing new rescue measures

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

EU parliament vows not to cave in to budget pressure

The parliament's majorty dismisses the German EU presidency's proposal on the rule of law conditionality, which has emerged as the main political obstacle to agree on the next long-term EU budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nice attack: EU urges world leaders to stop hate speech
  2. Europe is back in (partial) lockdown
  3. Gender equality still 60 years away, warns study
  4. I'm an 'election observer' - but what do we actually do?
  5. Deal in reach on linking EU funds to rule of law
  6. EU Commission's Covid-19 expert offers bleak outlook
  7. Belgium's collaboration with Sudan's secret service: my story
  8. What do ordinary Belarusians want from the EU?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us