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Europe

Blair is UK's only candidate for top EU jobs, says Brown

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-11

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has once more backed his predecessor Tony Blair to become the European Union's new president, while denying that UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband was ever a candidate for the foreign affairs job.

REUTERS - Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is the only British candidate seeking one of the new top jobs in the European Union, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Tuesday. 

Brown said Blair wanted to become the bloc's new president, but Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband would not attempt to become the EU high representative for foreign affairs.
 
"Britain has only one candidate for the European Council positions that are being discussed at the moment. That candidate is Tony Blair and his candidature is for the presidency of the council," Brown told a news conference. "These matters will be sorted out in the next few days."
 
Miliband was never a candidate for the high representative job, Brown added.
 
After emerging as a front-runner for the foreign affairs role, Miliband, 44, has distanced himself from the post and supporters say he wants to focus on his career in Britain.
 
His name often crops up on lists of possible future leaders of Brown's centre-left Labour Party and he was briefly linked to a challenge to his leadership last year.
 
The post of president of the Council of EU leaders is being created under the EU's Lisbon treaty, designed to make decision-making smoother at the top of a political and trading bloc representing nearly 500 million people.
 
The foreign affairs post will have greater powers under the treaty, to help the bloc raise its profile.
 
European diplomats say Belgian leader Herman Van Rompuy is ahead of Blair in the race for the job of president.
 
Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, may have lost support from other member states due to his backing for the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his failure to adopt the euro currency.
 
"Obviously, a person who has been a prime minister is controversial for some people because of the decisions that have been made, but that is the way of politics," Brown added.
 
Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency, called a special summit on November 19 to finalise two the appointments.

 

Date created : 2009-11-11

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