Tony Blair, Europe's main man?

Published on 24 September 2009 at 12:57
The Independent ('Life' section), 24 September, 2009


Could Tony Blair become the first President of the EU? So wonders the Independent on the front page of its Life supplement. Should Ireland approve the Lisbon Treaty in the 2 October referendum, “then the debate will start in earnest about who can best fill the big brand-new job of full-time EU president the treaty will create.” Although Blair studiously avoids the subjects, preferring instead to focus on his role as Middle East envoy for the EU, US, Russia and the UN, his candidacy is supported by British PM Gordon Brown. Observers also believe that crucially Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy are in favour. There remains, however, deep hostility to the ex PM from the European left. “It's easy to rehearse the reasons,” reports the Independent “-the Atlanticism, the failure to join the euro; the perceived deference to press-inflamed eurosceptic opinion; the economic liberal, free market, free trade agenda, and most of all Iraq.” But as Denis Macshane, a former Europe minister points out - "big Europeans from Churchill to De Gaulle to" all had their faults but also "the vision and communication thing which even Tony's bitterest enemies can't deny he has."

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