Stanley's blog

Following the Positive Irish referendum result, the race for who completes the EU leadership trio quickens.

The President of the Commission will be José Manuel Barroso (EPP, Portugal). He will be joined by the President of the European Council and the EU ‘Foreign Minister’.

It would be preferable for the President of the European Council to come from a smaller country (a re-assurance against big country domination). The ‘Foreign Minister’ should preferably come from France, Germany or the UK, to ensure political ‘clout’. Only one of the two can be from the EPP.

I do not think that Tony Blair would be a good choice: first, because he is from a big Member State; and second because of his Iraqi baggage.

Chris Patten has all the qualifications for ‘Foreign Minister’: former Commission External Affairs Vice President, excellent relations with the US and China, international standing, pro-European integration. It would take an imaginative approval by Gordon Brown, would scupper Tony Blair’s chances and would be useful in the UK if David Camerons’ Conservatives come to power.

This means that the European Council President could not be from the PPE. Tarja Halonen is currently President of Finland, a Socialist, a woman, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Nordic Cooperation and Social Affairs & Health. She would be an appropriate first President.

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  1. Couldn’t agree more. I had thought Balkenende but after your suggestion Halonen is a strong candidate. A small country presidency would be more unifying. Blair would be a disaster. He’s too pro-American to defend Europe’s interests. He was also too authoritarian in the UK. 3000 new criminal offences and a total disregard for civil liberties. He is totally inappropriate for the Presidency. Blair should be hauled before the international war crimes tribunal.

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