UPDATE 1 – According to Austrian Radio Brown has blocked Van Rumpuy! Translate later. A quick translation here through Babel.
Comment at end
11th November, 2009
QUALIFIED MAJORITY VOTING MAY BE NECESSARY FOR EU PRESIDENCY
We have fun, don’t we? No sooner has David Miliband confirmed or had it confirmed for him, that he is no longer … never was anyway … a candidate for the High Commissioner’s job at the EU than Peter Mandelson’s name is being passed around the shop.
I don’t seriously suggest that Tony Blair’s reaction to this eventuality would be as in my heading. Mr Blair does not talk in this way, even if he is tempted to think it at times. He leaves such eye-catching phrases to panicking British Conservatives. But one or two others in Europe may well be thinking something similar.
If we have to have a Brit in one of the two top posts, and by God, we REALLY should, for all sorts of reasons, let us at least have one who is listened to throughout the world. And there is only one, as we all know. In fact he is probably the only European listened to around the world.
If no Brit ends up in any top job then they may well have the right man in the right place at the right time – the ‘EU’s undertaker’, as I have recently seen him referred to rather unkindly – one Herman Van Rumpuy.
Can’t imagine why the Belgian prime minister deserves that title. But, Sir, do show some respect and straighten that collar, please … in the presence of the dead.
Today’s Times says that – ‘Lord Mandelson denies wanting the EU job Miliband refused’
But the paragraph in the report that caught my keen little eye was this:
“But Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish Prime Minister, has warned that the process of consulting his fellow EU leaders for names and narrowing down a shortlist was proving difficult. He told The Times that the decision would not be made by two leaders but by 27 and that he might have to resort to qualified-majority voting because there was such a divergence of views.”
And if it comes down to interviews as suggested here:
“This has never been used before to decide a top EU post because of the convention that the leaders try to find consensus. Mr Reinfeldt appears to have abandoned hope of a summit this week to announce the winning names and was faced with a demand from Poland yesterday that the shortlisted candidates undergo interviews.”
Well… job done, President Blair.
Times ARTICLE follows in its entirety:
Britain was on the verge of coming away empty-handed from the carve-up of Europe’s top jobs yesterday, even as Lord Mandelson’s name entered the fray as an 11th-hour candidate.
The Business Secretary was forced to deny that he had canvassed for the job of EU foreign minister after the prospects of capturing one of the new posts faded for Tony Blair and David Miliband.
Yesterday President Sarkozy talked up the Belgian Prime Minister as Europe’s first president, seemingly abandoning Mr Blair as his first choice. Mr Miliband is preparing to make a statement ruling himself out of the running for EU foreign minister, the other job created by the Lisbon treaty, according to friends. After the fading of Mr Blair, Paris and Berlin have fallen behind the idea that a Briton should take the job. Mr Miliband was the first choice but, according to Le Monde, Lord Mandelson “discreetly sounded out the Élysée Palace in order to promote his candidacy” for the post.
A spokesman for Lord Mandelson said last night that the Business Secretary had been sounded out about stepping into the breach left by Mr Miliband but denied that he had sought President Sarkozy’s backing: “It is true to say that when he was in Brussels a number of people approached him.”
The spokesman said that the canvassers were EU Commissioners and other senior figures but that Lord Mandelson was clear that “there was no option of him upping sticks and leaving now”. It was “absolute nonsense” to say that he had approached the Élysée, the spokesman said.
Speculation that Mr Miliband was secretly interested in the post was stirred by his last-minute decision to make an appearance in Berlin. He was, in fact, making the case for Mr Blair to be president, friends said.
Mr Sarkozy was the first EU leader to voice public support for Mr Blair but was reported yesterday by Le Monde praising Herman Van Rom-puy, the Belgian Prime Minister, as “very good”, and rejecting the suggestion of Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands. Le Monde concluded that this confirmed Mr Van Rompuy as the final choice of France and Angela Merkel, of Germany — both having pledged to reach a common position.
But Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish Prime Minister, has warned that the process of consulting his fellow EU leaders for names and narrowing down a shortlist was proving difficult. He told The Times that the decision would not be made by two leaders but by 27 and that he might have to resort to qualified-majority voting because there was such a divergence of views.
This has never been used before to decide a top EU post because of the convention that the leaders try to find consensus. Mr Reinfeldt appears to have abandoned hope of a summit this week to announce the winning names and was faced with a demand from Poland yesterday that the shortlisted candidates undergo interviews.
- Has Miliband’s EXIT left the door open for Blair?
- The European folly of deciding ‘TO NOT BE’ a superpower
- Proud to be Tony Blair Supporters … & WHY
- Campbell on Brown/Obama/Afghanistan & leadership (?)
- Juncker’s objection to Blair’s candidacy – You’re TOO Big!
- EU President? Meet the Candidates … Jean-Claude Juncker
- Mandelson: “Europe needs strong leadership”
- Rumours: Miliband HAS EU High Rep job – believe it or not
- How “autistic” Tories may have handed EU Presidency to their nemesis
- EU President? Meet the Candidates … Jan Balkenende
- EU President? Meet the Candidates … Van Rompuy