Conservatives to oppose Tony Blair's appointment as EU president

Posted By: Staff
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London, Oct. 3 (ANI): Conservatives have vowed obstruct former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's road to the European Union's presidency, if such a post is created after Ireland's 'yes' vote today.

"We will be very hostile to a Blair presidency. He may be the favourite but people will not be happy if he is installed at the same time a Labour government is thrown out," The Telegraph quoted a senior Tory figure, as saying.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed that Blair is the best man to occupy a post, which is likely to be created if the Irish vote finally allows the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

However, Tories are planning to make formal representations to other members of the EU to stop him from taking up the post.

"There could be no worse way to sell the EU to the people of Britain," William Hague, Shadow Foreign Secretary, said.

Although Gordon Brown has agreed to support his predecessor for the post, his government fears that his ambitions may be blocked by an alliance of smaller EU states and the European Commission.

Another obstacle that may come in Blair's way to become EU president is the wide range of interests and posts he occupies.

He has already been accused of a potential conflict of interest in his capacity as Middle East envoy after it emerged that he is working as an adviser to Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund which invests the oil profits of the Gulf state of Abu Dhabi, the paper said.

Europe meets for a summit on October 29, when a decision on the presidency is likely to be taken.

If Ireland votes 'yes' later today, only Poland and the Czech Republic will stand in the way of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, which critics claim will create a constitution for the EU.

However, if Blair becomes the EU president, he would receive a salary estimated at around 275,000 pounds, generous expenses and allowances and a chauffer-driven limousine, as well as a personal staff of 20. (ANI)

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