Tags: brown | blair | eu | president

Brown Backs Tony Blair for EU President

Wednesday, 15 Jul 2009 10:26 PM

A minister fuelled speculation on Wednesday that former prime minister Tony Blair wants to be Europe's first president, but Blair denied he was campaigning for the position.

Europe minister Glenys Kinnock told British journalists at the European Parliament in Strasbourg that the entire government fully supported Blair's "candidature", according to reports.

"The UK government is supporting Tony Blair's candidature for president of the Council (of EU governments)," Kinnock told a press conference.

Asked if the prospect of being Europe's president had been discussed with Mr Blair, she said: "It is the government's position. I am sure they would not do that without asking him."

The man who succeeded Blair as British prime minister, Gordon Brown, said in an interview last month that he was backing his predecessor to become EU president.

But a spokesman for Blair said on Wednesday: "There is no campaign. As we have said time and again on this, there is nothing to be a candidate for since the job doesn't actually exist."

The creation of the job is set out in the EU's Lisbon Treaty, but the text must still be ratified by Ireland, which is holding a second referendum on the issue on October 2.

The EU president's job will have a two and a half year term renewable once.

Former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez has also been mentioned as a potential contender for the post.

Since stepping down as prime minister in June 2007, Blair has been the envoy for the Middle East Quartet -- comprising the EU, Russia, the United Nations and the United States -- which aims to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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A minister fuelled speculation on Wednesday that former prime minister Tony Blair wants to be Europe's first president, but Blair denied he was campaigning for the position.Europe minister Glenys Kinnock told British journalists at the European Parliament in Strasbourg that...
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2009-26-15
Wednesday, 15 Jul 2009 10:26 PM
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