March 19, 2008
The FT Harris poll revealed that a clear majority of the combined citizens of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK believes that the EU must choose a high profile figure as its first president, such as Angela Merkel or Tony Blair. This would rule out Jean-Claude Juncker and Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
However, Merkel still appears to be unavailable and it is hard to imagine Blair being chosen, despite support from Nicolas Sarkozy. And smaller Member States could well prefer Juncker or Rasmussen, or perhaps Bertie Ahern.
While consensus will be sought, the decision is by qualified majority ie 55% of the Member States and 65% of the underlying population. Thus, the votes of 15 Member States are required representing around 322m people.
Unless Angela Merkel can be persuaded to take the job, the race is likely to be wide open.Author : Stanley Crossick