Friday

20th Sep 2019

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Opinion

Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration

Brussels' current vision for cooperation on defence, where third countries can contribute but have no say in decision-making and in the guidance of operations, is unlikely to be attractive to the UK.

Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds

National governments have a "crucial role" to prioritise low-carbon cities to tackle climate challenges and secure economic prosperity since high-carbon systems are expected to become unprofitable or inoperable in the near future.

France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

French president Emmanuel Macron is pressing for an automated distribution of rescued migrants at sea - but also stands accused of tightening asylum rules in his own country as a response to the far-right.

Opinion

Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'

As ex-national leaders, we know it's not easy to withstand public pressures and put collective interests ahead of domestic concerns. But without strong institutional leadership, EU values themselves risk ringing hollow, not least to those seeking protection on Europe's shores.

News in Brief

  1. Austria to veto EU trade deal with South America
  2. Brexit minister asks EU for 'flexibility' to secure a deal
  3. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  4. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan
  5. Minsk talks bode ill for EU's peace summit on Ukraine
  6. Poll: Poland's nationalist rulers to win October election
  7. Irish lawyers clash with EU commission in Apple case
  8. NGOs take aim at EU smartphone pollution

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Podcast

Trumpworld In Europe

Pastors and plutocrats are sponsoring an ultra-conservative agenda in Europe. Many of them have links to Donald Trump.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  2. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  3. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  4. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  5. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  6. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'
  7. A new Commission for the one percent
  8. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us