EU - French minister says Blair not suited to top job
Europe minister on Monday warned that former British prime minister Tony Blair did not have the right profile for the future post of European Union president.
PARIS, February 5, 2008 - France's Europe minister on Monday warned that
former British prime minister Tony Blair did not have the right profile for
the future post of European Union president.
In an interview on French television, Jean-Pierre Jouyet appeared to
directly contradict President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has indicated his support
for Blair to take the European job.
"To be president of the council of the European Union... you need
leadership -- Tony Blair has many faults but he has undeniable leadership,"
Jouyet told BFM-TV.
But Jouyet said Europe's future president also needed "to be very close to
all the European groupings, whether the (15-nation) euro zone or the Schengen
(free-travel) zone," neither of which include Britain.
"It is a good idea in terms of leadership. Regarding the other two
criteria, he doesn't seem to me to meet all the criteria," said Jouyet, a
left-winger recruited to join Sarkozy's bi-partisan government line-up.
Blair's possible candidacy has been slapped down by several high-profile
figures in Sarkozy's right-wing camp, including former French president Valery
Giscard d'Estaing and former prime minister Edouard Balladur.
Leaders of France's opposition Socialist Party have also criticised the
choice of Blair for the European job.