Blair Eyes Role as Europe's First President

Ex-British PM wants post to have strong say on defense, trade
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2008 12:38 PM CST
Fomer British Prime Minister Tony Blair could face one potential obstacle to his bid to become Europe's first president: Angela Merkel. The German chancellor is opposed to Blair filling the post, the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Tony Blair is angling to become Europe’s first president, the Guardian reports, but the former British PM wants to be assured the EU’s new top job will come with real authority on defense and trade. Blair, currently the Mideast envoy for the US, EU, UN, and Russia, has been meeting with allies and already has French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s support. The post as head of the EU Council will be filled next January.

Blair, however, hasn’t won Angela Merkel’s vote. The German chancellor’s party fears a Blair presidency might embolden her country’s opposition party. Neither Germany nor France would push for Blair if current British PM Gordon Brown opposed his appointment, the Guardian notes. Blair has been frustrated at his lack of authority to further Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.