Blair's Path to EU Helm Grows Clearer
If Irish approve Lisbon treaty, ex-PM in line for newly created position
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2009 11:53 AM CDT
Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker was considered a front-runner for the EU presidency, but with Juncker's recent tiff with Nicolas Sarkozy, his chances dropped.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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(Newser) – If Ireland votes yes on the Lisbon treaty, officially creating the role of EU president, Tony Blair is looking more and more like the man for the job. Not that the former UK prime minister has publicly expressed any interest—he's remained tactfully silent—but he has pockets of support and a dwindling list of rivals, writes David Charter in the Times of London.

Blair's "role as Middle East envoy has gone some way to restoring his reputation after his support for the invasion of Iraq angered many Europeans," Charter observes. Nicolas Sarkozy openly supports Blair, as do Silvio Berlusconi and Blair successor Gordon Brown. But Angela Merkel might not be thrilled with an attention-grabbing EU leader. Depending on how the Germans vote this fall, she might be free to challenge Blair herself.