Fraser Nelson

Brown is all that stands between Blair and the EU presidency

Brown is all that stands between Blair and the EU presidency
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What started off as a joke is growing more serious by the hour. Bets are being laid on the next EU president and the favourite is one Anthony Charles Lynton Blair. Ladbrokes has cut him from 3/1 to 2/1, perhaps after the Guardian piece this morning. Put aside the (rich) comic value of all this, the appointment has its logic. If you want the EU to pack a diplomatic punch (I don't) then this depends to a huge degree on getting heavy-hitter who knows how to work the circuit. Who better than the globe-trotting Blair? Next, it will help keep Britain onside. The Tories would find it that bit harder to renegotiate EU membership if a Brit like Blair is the face of the EU banging on about making it a benign alliance of nation states. Easier to renegotiate if the chair is occupied by a nobody like Junker or an over promoted finance minister like Schüssel. The only upside to a Blair presidency is that Brown would swap his supine position to the EU to a French/Italian position - ie, telling the EU go to hell on a regular basis. Patrick Wintour (whom you can trust 100% on such issues) says Blair is de facto gunning for it, but that Merkel and Sarko won't back Blair against Brown's wishes. So Brown has the ability to blackball his old rival. For the reasons outlined above, I hope he takes it.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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