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British FM says ‘President Blair’ would be good for Europe

Published on 25/10/2009

London - British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Sunday that it would be "very good for Europe" if Tony Blair became president of the EU -- and denied once again that he wanted to be EU foreign minister.

"I think it would be very good for Britain as well as very good for Europe if Tony Blair became a candidate and if he was chosen," Miliband told the BBC. Blair, who was British prime minister from 1997 to 2007, has not declared his candidacy for the new role of European Council president created under the Lisbon Treaty, but has some strong backing.

However opposition to his appointment is growing, including from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was reportedly one of the first European leaders to put Blair’s name forward but who has since backtracked.

"I think it all comes to what the heads of government want the job to be," Miliband said of the debate over Blair’s candidacy for the job, which would be created as soon as the Lisbon Treaty is ratified.

"It’s about whether or not Europe wants a strong leader in that position and I think that hasn’t yet been resolved in the minds of a number of Europe’s leaders.

"My own view, very clearly, it that we need someone who could do more than simply run through the agenda."

Miliband also reiterated that he was not in the running to become EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, another job that would be newly created under the Lisbon Treaty.

"I’m not a candidate for that. I’m not available. I’ve got a job that I’m absolutely committed to and I’m proud to do," he said.