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Blair Loses Out To Van Rompuy As EU President
11:51am UK, Friday November 20, 2009
Miranda Richardson & Philip Thomas, Sky News Online
Tony Blair has lost out in the race to become the first President of the EU Council, with Belgium's Herman van Rompuy getting the job.
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However, former leader of the House of Lords Baroness Catherine Ashton has been named EU High Representative - the European Union's first foreign minister.
Belgian Prime Minister van Rompuy will be the inaugural President of the EU Council.
An agreement was reached at a summit in Brussels after Britain dropped its insistence that former British Prime Minister Blair should become president, ending weeks of deadlock and opening the way to agreement on van Rompuy.
Baroness Ashton's Reaction
The appointments are intended to bolster the EU's standing and help it match the rise of emerging powers such as China following the global economic crisis.
Mr Van Rompuy, 62, and Baroness Ashton, 53, are low-profile compromise candidates little known outside the EU.
Baroness Ashton said: "I am very honoured and proud to have been asked to take on this role.
"It is a challenge. I was the first female UK Commissioner, first female trade Commissioner and now first female High Representative. I will make sure I represent our values across the world, and I will endeavour to do in my own way the best that I can."
Sky's foreign affairs editor, Tim Marshall
David Milband wanted a president who would 'stop the traffic'. The only way Rompuy will stop the traffic is if he's in an accident in his Renault Clio due to not having a police escort because no one recognised him.
She said her style and approach was "quiet diplomacy to get things done".
The new President of the EU Council has been prime minister of Belgium for only a year, but in that time has won high praise for bringing his country's long-divided Flemish and French-speaking communities closer together.
Sky's political editor, Adam Boulton, said: "We should stress that Tony Blair has never said that he was a candidate, so technically he has not been rejected.
Herman van Rompuy
"However, it is known that Gordon Brown, his closest and most complicated friend in politics, was advocating him for the job and it is unlikely he would have done it against the will of Mr Blair.
"This is a political setback for Mr Blair.
"He will continue in his lucrative private life in his charity and foundation work, but it means that somebody who is frankly not a very well-known figure at all in Britain, Baroness Cathy Ashton, could be on the brink of getting a very big job."
City Minister Lord Myners told Jeff Randall Live: "I think it's very good for Europe and it's very good for the UK.
"The High Respresentative position is an important one and Cathy Ashton has clearly impressed our colleagues in the other member states in Europe by her strong skills in negotiation, advocacy and administration.
"I think it's wonderful for Britain and for Europe."
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MORE ON THIS STORY: EU President
Comments to the story
Thank goodness !!!! the sight of sherry poncing about all over the place in her best frocks would be enough to make you PUKE..!Posted By :molli Report This
Tony Blair was involved in the composition of the European Constitution (a long time ago now and well before it was revamped as the Lisbon Treaty) in which the idea of having a permanent President of Europe was first proposed and even then he had strong ambition to be that first permanent President. I seem to recall that Jack Straw gave forth his opinion to the effect that he thought that Tony Blair would make a good President; I do not recall any rebuff of such a notion from Tony Blair; perhaps he just responded by giving an ear to ear smile! Ah! well, at least he will be able to carry on with his job as middle-east peace envoy with greater earnest and perhaps achieve something: or was/is that job but part of his prolonged 'window dressing' in order to be seen as eminently worthy above all other for the historical position of the first President of Europe such giving him a 'George Washington' image!Posted By :John Phillips Report This
Mimi, Paul & Fred. Fred - unfortunately you may well be right & the Belgian PM is merely a Trojan Horse for Blair. Paul - Ashton started her dubious political career in that KGB sponsored front org. the CND. To remind those who were not alive at the time the CND was a group of Saboteurs & Naieve Do Gooders who opposed the UK's Nuclear Weapons policy by Demos & Sabotage , serving only the interests of their Soviet Masters. With the Demise of the USSR , the Marxist Traitors in our midst ( Blair , Mandelson, Kinnock, Livingston, Salmond et al ) have joined en masse the Labour Party & the SNP in order to gain power. The EU is their vehicle for World Domination & will most likely seek to be a Military Rival to the US. Mimi - In the mean time Blair is meddling in Israels affairs, threatening its security by pushing for yet another Arab State of Terror to be created & paid for by the EU. In the UK, unlike in Israel, Criminal Politicians do not go to Jail, mores thePosted By :jerome webber Report This
So the news pundits are complaining that these people who got elected are faceless non-entities. I saw on the news that the New York TImes was also saying this. But these people know what they are doing from their track record. That seems better than loud-mouthed, performing puppets like Blair, Cameron, Lib/Dem leader?, etc. Even worse in the USA where they have had trained parrots like Bush, Cheney, etc who couldnt see beyond the end of their noses.Posted By :al Report This
So once again Britain capitulates to the unelected EU state, we are nothing but a walk over as far as other countries are concerned.Posted By :Gordon Broon Report This
Every other country gets some sort of demand met not the UK.
One thin I don't understand with this whole EU president thing, is why the citizens of the EUs 25 countries were not the ones that voted this new unknown in!??? Why was it the politicians again?Posted By :Lee WOod Report This
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