Austria, Belgium sceptical about Blair EU candidacy
Austria and Belgium on Monday took a sceptical view towards former British prime minister Tony Blair becoming the European Union's first president.
Talks inside the 27-nation EU on how to divide up new responsibilities once the Lisbon treaty has been adopted by all countries "raise more questions than answers," said visiting Belgian Prime Minister Hermann van Rompuy.
Speaking at a press conference after talks with van Rompuy, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said he was "sceptical about Mr. Blair."
Van Rompuy began a tour of EU capitals in Vienna on Monday before Belgium takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1 next year.
Blair's possible candidacy for the post prompted French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday to warn that Britain's refusal to adopt the euro currency would be a "problem" for the former prime minister's chances of election.
Sarkozy was reportedly one of the first EU leaders to put Blair's name forward in 2007.
The former British prime minister has never officially declared himself a candidate but there has been mounting controversy in recent months over his name.
Sarkozy said in an interview that "it is too early to say" whether Blair would be a good candidate for the EU presidency.
While the Lisbon treaty struggles to complete its ratification, some countries, led by Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, have already indicated that Blair does not have a sufficiently pro-European profile for the president's job.