Friday

10th Apr 2020

Sarkozy suggests Blair for EU president post

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has suggested making outgoing UK prime minister Tony Blair the president of the European Union – a move seen as a way of securing London's support for a new treaty when EU leaders meet in Brussels at the end of this week.

"Many will say that if the United Kingdom accepts the reforms of the treaties at the next European summit it will be in exchange for placing Blair at the front of Europe," a diplomat said, according to Spanish daily El Pais.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

The comment comes after the Financial Times on Saturday (16 June) reported that Mr Sarkozy is said to have discussed the idea with other EU leaders ahead of next week's European summit.

The summit will be Mr Blair's last major international event as prime minister before he steps down on 27 June. He is expected to be succeeded by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown.

German diplomats said Mr Sarkozy put his plan to German chancellor Angela Merkel – the current leader of the rotating six-month EU presidency.

He also put the proposal to the Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero who, according to government sources, was open to the initiative, writes El Pais.

However, number 10 Downing Street has denied the media reports. "The prime minister has made it clear that he is not going to return to front-line politics," a UK government spokeswoman said, according to the Associated Press.

The draft EU constitution, rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, foresees a permanent two-and-a-half-year presidency – renewable once - to replace the current system, in which the post rotates among the 27 member states every six months.

The role itself would remain administrative and non-executive, but rather than the presidency being held by a member state – as Germany currently does - it would be held by an individual elected by and accountable to the EU member states.

The idea of a permanent presidency looks set to survive member state negotiations on a new look treaty for the bloc.

Analysis

How the EU's virus-alert agency failed

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, an EU agency, was meant to highlight threats from infectious diseases, but it painted a rosy picture of Covid-19.

Opinion

Why Europe must act now, and on a big scale

It is still very likely that Europe will face a new deadly spread of the virus next autumn or winter. Until a reliable vaccine and cure are in place, we all have to live in this new reality.

Opinion

Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders

The rise in support for mainstream parties has been paired with stagnation or decline for far-right populist parties and figures - the AfD has dropped to 10 percent in Germany and Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are treading water.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants trapped on boat in Tripoli due to shelling
  2. EU anti-crisis budget 'could be up to €1.5 trillion'
  3. Western Balkan states appeal for EU help with masks
  4. Spain's lockdown could be extended until 10 May
  5. IMF: Pandemic crisis will be worse than great depression
  6. German economy minister expects progress on EU deal
  7. Italian PM: EU is at risk if no deal on recovery plan
  8. Belgian region to block EU Green Deal

Opinion

Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders

The rise in support for mainstream parties has been paired with stagnation or decline for far-right populist parties and figures - the AfD has dropped to 10 percent in Germany and Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are treading water.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. How the EU's virus-alert agency failed
  2. Flemish nationalists torpedo Belgium Green Deal pledge
  3. Eurozone agreed €500bn cushion against virus blow
  4. Why Europe must act now, and on a big scale
  5. EU court blocks Poland's bid to 'frighten' judges
  6. Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders
  7. EU science chief who 'quit' had been told to resign
  8. EU delays 'exit strategies' plan, as WHO urges caution

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us