October 16, 2009

Tony Blair for president!

I haven’t ever been an euro-enthusiast, and this not because of any prejudice against the thing-in-itself, but rather because of the ways and means of bringing about European political integration. Yet, among doubts and uncertainties, there is one thing I am certain about: Tony Blair is the perfect candidate for the role of president of the European Council as set in the Lisbon Treaty (the EU president is expected to chair EU summits, take on some of the functions of the current presidency of the Council of the European Union and represent the EU on common foreign and security policy).

The former UK prime minister (from 1997-2007) and leader of the Labour Party (from 1994-2007), is currently a Middle East peace envoy. He has the high-level experience of EU politics necessary for the new job. As the Italian daily newspaper Il Foglio—which is mounting a campaign in support of Blair—puts it, he is “a politician of great cultural leadership, of innovative mind and with the strength to lead important ideal and moral struggles,” the man who “has revitalized the international left and has become a model for the more moderate right.”

Yet, the prospect of Tony Blair becoming the first President of Europe dimmed a little last night after President Sarkozy, once one of his chief supporters, acknowledged that he faced strong opposition because of Britain’s Eurosceptic status. “Personally I believe in a Europe that is politically strong and embodied by a person. But the fact that Great Britain is not in the single currency remains a problem,” he told Le Figaro.

The candidacy of Blair is supported by eastern and southern Europe—with Italy at the top of the list—but opposed by the Netherlands and Belgium, and above all by the European Left in general for his support of the war in Iraq and his free market capitalism approach.

Not the best context.. Let me cross my fingers and hope for the best.