Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Can we get real? On the one hand the Tories claim that the Lisbon Treaty is not likely to be adopted before the next general election, and therefore possibly not at all, and on the other hand they are going wild at the prospect of Tony Blair becoming 'President of Europe'.

I'm with them in not wanting Tony Blair to get the job. I appreciate his presentational skills - they are hugely impressive and work as well in the European Parliament as in the House of Commons -but I believe the man deceived MPs, launched an illegal war that led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands - and rightly belongs in The Hague, not in Brussels.

But the depiction of the job in Britain has been ludicrous; I've even read one europhobe describe it as that of 'head of state'.

The reality is that it amounts to no more than than being chairman of the European Council, the gathering of the 27 Prime Ministers. The holder of the post will sit alongside whoever is Prime Minister of the country holding the EU presidency, a role that rotates every six months. No job description has been prepared and there are plenty of Prime Ministers who want to keep it strictly limited.

So if the job doesn't amount to much why describe the holder as 'President'? Well, the European Commission has a President, and the European Parliament has a President, so for the sake of consistency....

Mind you, an independent chairman of the European Council even with a limited role could still provide a huge service. They could do what none of the rotating office holders ever do, they could highlight the failings of those Member States who do not come close to respecting the high ideals and principles to which the EU is publicly committed.

Now there's food for thought. Forget 'Blair for President,' doesn't 'Davies for President' have a good ring to it?!

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