Juncker’s objection to Blair’s candidacy – You’re TOO Big!

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    7th November, 2009



    In a respected German paper there is an article about Juncker which sounded particularly aggressive towards Germany. It also has this, from Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, and EU presidential candidate:

    “Juncker betonte, es habe bei der Schaffung des Postens im gescheiterten Verfassungsvertrag “ein informelles Einverständnis gegeben, dass der erste EU-Ratspräsident nicht aus einem großen Land kommen sollte”.

    Translation –

    “Juncker stressed when the job was introduced in the failed Constitution, an informal consensus between the heads of states was reached that the first EU President should not come from a big member state.”

    The whole page has been translated here (If it does not open  go to Google translator and input this web page url.)

    Since Tony Blair is one of the few “candidates” in the reckoning from one of the biggest states and is second behind Belgium’s Van Rompuy in the betting, this ‘reminder’ would seem to be aimed squarely at Britain’s candidate.

    We are expected to accept that the leaders of all the big countries agreed to exclude big countries’ presidency candidates.  And that our then leader agreed to that too.


    It’s possible he might have remembered that little detail.


    If there was an unwritten agreement to that effect, it might explain why some candidates names have ’emerged’ rather than been declared.  In that case it may be that any unwritten agreement is as useful as the paper it was (un)written on.

    So who are the other candidates? Below are those listed at Paddy Power, excluding the top four favourites. Apart from François Fillon (the current PM of France, don’t you know?) there is no other candidate from what would normally be described as a ‘BIG’ EU state.

    No Germans, no Italians. The closest to BIG are the Spanish and Dutch candidates. Candidates below listed as in order of betting odds, the four current favourites excluded.

    Wolfgang Schüssel (born June 7, 1945) is a Christian Democratic Austrian politician. He was Chancellor of Austria from February 2000 to January 2007. Since 2006 he has been chairman of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) faction in parliament.

    Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga (also known as Vaira Vikis-Freibergs) was the 6th President of Latvia and first female President of Latvia and of eastern Europe. She was elected President of Latvia in 1999 and re-elected in 2003.

    Guy Verhofstadt (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣiː vəɾˈɦɔfstɑt] (Speaker Icon.svg listen); born Guy Maurice Marie Louise Verhofstadt, 11 April 1953) is a Belgian politician who was Prime Minister of Belgium from 1999 to 2008. He is currently a Member of the European Parliament and leader of the liberal group in Parliament

    Felipe González Márquez (born 5 March 1942) is a Spanish socialist politician. He was the General Secretary of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) from 1974 to 1997. To date, he remains the longest-serving Prime Minister of Spain, after having served four successive mandates from 1982 to 1996. He is married and has three children.

    Martti Ahtisaari (born June 23, 1937) was a UN diplomat and a President of Finland (1994 – 2000).
    Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari was born in Viipuri. His father was of Norwegian descent. During the Continuation War his family moved to Kuopio, where he spent most of his childhood until they moved to Oulu in 1952. In Oulu, he joined the local YMCA. In 1959, he graduated as a teacher through a distance-learning course.

    Aleksander Kwaśniewski (Pl-Aleksander Kwaśniewski.ogg [alɛˈksandɛr kfaɕˈɲɛfskʲi] (help·info); born November 15, 1954) is a post-communist Polish socialist politician who served as the President of Poland from 1995 to 2005. He was born in Białogard, and during the communist rule he was active in the communist controlled Socialist Union of Polish Students (Socjalistyczny Związek Studentów Polskich) and was sports minister in the communist government in 1980s. After the fall of communism he became a leader of the left-wing, post-communist Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland, successor to the former ruling communist Polish United Workers Party, and a cofounder of the Democratic Left Alliance

    John Bruton is a former Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach), who helped transform the Irish economy into the “Celtic Tiger,” one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In the year before he took office (1993) the Irish economy grew by 2.7%. During his time as Taoiseach (1994-1997), the Irish economy grew at an annual average rate of 8.7%, peaking at 11.1% in 1997. John Bruton was also deeply involved in the Northern Irish Peace Process leading to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, under whose terms a conflict of allegiances dating back to the seventeenth century was resolved.

    Paavo Tapio Lipponen (Fi-Paavo_Lipponen.ogg pronunciation (help·info)) (born April 23, 1941) is a Finnish politician and former reporter. He was Prime Minister of Finland from 1995 to 2003 [1], and Chairman of the Finnish Social Democratic Party from 1993 to 2005. He also served as Speaker of the Parliament of Finland 2003-2007 [2].

    François Fillon (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa fijɔ̃]; born 4 March 1954 in Le Mans, Sarthe) is the current Prime Minister of France, having been appointed to that office by President Nicolas Sarkozy on 17 May 2007.[1][2]

    Tarja Kaarina Halonen (help·info) (Finnish pronunciation: [tɑrjɑ kɑːrinɑ hɑlonen]; born December 24, 1943) is the 11th and current President of Finland. The first female to hold the office, Halonen had previously been a member of the parliament from 1979 to 2000 when she resigned after her election to the presidency. In addition to her political career she had a long and extensive career in trade unions and different non-governmental organizations.

    Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Danish pronunciation: [⁽ˈ⁾ɑnɐs ˈfɔʊ̯ˀ ˈʀɑsmusn̩] (Speaker Icon.svg listen)) (born 26 January 1953) is a Danish politician, and the current Secretary General of NATO[1]. Rasmussen served as Prime Minister of Denmark from November 27, 2001 to April 5, 2009.

    Mary Therese Winifred Robinson (Irish: Máire Mhic Róibín;[2] born 21 May 1944) served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland, serving from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002.

    See all candidates here with current betting.


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    6 Responses to “Juncker’s objection to Blair’s candidacy – You’re TOO Big!”

    1. Julie Says:

      Juncker is indeed particularly hostile against Germany and not for the first time.It’s the third attack within weeks.I don’t think Merkel is very amused about that.

      Juncker seems to have a problem with big member states.He refers to the Treaty,saying it’s the Commission President who allocates the portfolios of the Commissioners.Well that’s what the Treaty says but it’s not how the EU works.It’s a tough bargaining between member states behind closed doors.For example,if the Commission President comes from Portugal it’s clear Portugal won’t get another top job in the institutions.If the President of the Parliament is Polish,it’s clear Poland won’t get a top Commissioner portfolio.That’s the principle of institutional balance,Article 7 EC Treaty,Mr.Juncker.It’s not all black and white.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        It sounds, Julie, as though Juncker is falling back on the old populist squeal of “it’s not democratic, y’know!”

        I imagine that since many people don’t see the EU as democratic anyway, no-one is going to give a damn about what he thinks.

        The realpolitik of life is that much of the decision-making in the EU will be behind closed doors. Can you imagine if every decision was put to a committee!?

        None of this means that Blair is a shoo-in, though. I live under no illusions, nor should he.

    2. Julie Says:


      Spot on.Nobody really gives a damn about what the guy says.And he wants to become first EU President.Great idea-NOT.

      I think what Lord Mandelson said a few days ago,namely that whoever becomes the first EU President will shape and define the job for many years.

      What we need is a strong President,with a clear vision and the necessary skills and abilities to shape the future of an influential and progressive Europe in the time of globalisation.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Quite, Julie. How anyone in their right mind can think that it would be better for the EU if an ‘invisible’ but worthy politician is representing it on the world stage is beyond me.

        In fact an invisible man/woman like the three I’ve listed so far at this site, wouldn’t be asked onto the platform, far less asked their (the EU’s) opinion.

    3. Mili or Mandy for EU job? Over Blair’s dead body « Tony Blair Says:

      […] Juncker’s objection to Blair’s candidacy – You’re TOO Big! […]

    4. EU President? Meet the Candidates … Tony Blair « Tony Blair Says:

      […] Juncker’s objection to Blair’s candidacy – You’re TOO Big! […]

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