There is enough chance that the Lisbon Treaty is about to get the final check mark that the new post of European Council president is being discussed. Former British prime minister Tony Blair’s name is high on the shortlist. The EU’s foreign ministers have been preparing for this week’s summit in Brussels.
Britain’s David Miliband said the choice was about more than size: “I think that every country will consider for themselves what sort of person they want. That’s the issue that we have to decide on first, and then the personalities come later. I think very strongly it is not a competition between large and small countries. This is about a common European interest.” Demanding a partial opt-out, Czech President Vaclav Klaus delayed the Lisbon Treaty. Important new posts will only exist when the treaty is fully approved. But the members are confident that is finally going to happen now. Finnish Foreign MinisterAlexander Stubb said: “I think if we could find a Barack Obama in Europe, it would be wonderful. But we are all different personalities, and we have all our own charisma, if you will, and I am sure that out of the pack of current and former EU leaders, we will find someone who is suitable.” The idea is for a higher profile figure to represent the bloc on the world stage. Other names mentioned include three current prime ministers — Dutchman Jan Peter Balkenende, Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker and Herman Van Rompuy of Belgium.