In case Ireland ratifies the "Treaty of Lisbon" in October's referendum, a new, high-profiled, position will be created within the European Union: the position of EU's President, which will transform the present rotating six-month post to a strong, five years long, Presidency.
For that position, a man has already showed his interest: the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. After a ten-years long controversial premiership in the UK, the former resident of 10 Downing Street has expressed the ambition for becoming EU's first President. However, Mr.Blair's new aim has raised some obvious and serious concerns. How appropriate is he for Europe's highest post?
The direct involvement of Tony Blair in the 2003 Iraq War and his exciplit support to George Bush's hawkish administration do not consist a positive point in favour of his candidacy. On the contrary, Mr.Blair's political reputation has been inescapably wounded from his choice to make London a loyal follower of Bush's neo-Conservative, pro-War strategy in the Middle East. It's interesting what the "Stop Blair" web initiative of citizens write in the preface of the petition "against the nomination of Tony Blair as President of the European Union": "In violation of international law, Tony Blair committed his country to a war in Iraq that a large majority of European citizens opposed. This war has claimed hundreds of thousands of victims and displaced millions of refugees. It has been a major factor in today's profound destabilisation of the Middle East, and has weakened world security. On the same text, they add that "in order to lead his country into war, Mr Blair made systematic use of fabricated evidence and the manipulation of information".
Indeed, the former British Prime Minister has been repeatedly accussed by his own co-patriots for lying on the Iraq case and more specifically on the existence (or not) of the notorious Weapons of Mass Destruction. According to John Kampfner, writer of "Blair's Wars", Mr.Blair (along with George W.Bush) "knew that Blix's "failure" to find WMD was not the result of lack of effort. They were increasingly concerned that the weapons might after all not exist. In public they did not say so, knowing the damage that would cause politically and legally" (The Guardian, October 24, 2004). Actually, how could Europe place reliance on a politician who lied to his own people?
From his side, when Mr.Blair was stepping down from Britain's leadership, David Aaronovich of "The Times" was pointing out that the departing Prime Minister "is bliar, the mendacious, spin-obsessed, manipulating fraudster who lied to take us to war, undermined our independent civil service, took cash from the rich and rewarded them with peerages and favourable decisions, and suborn our politics" (May 11, 2007), writing that Blair was in fact a "Clintonian disappointment". A man who started a promising political career, aspiring to be Britain's Clinton but failed to do so. After ten years in Downing Street, Blair resulted to look more a week imitation of Margaret Thatcher rather than a progressive leader of Europe's center-Left.
Unfortunately for Tony Blair, his reputation was destroyed by his own choice to make Britain the "Trojan Horse" of Bush's America within the European Union. It's characteristic that Mr.Blair - along with the then Spanish Premier Jose Maria Aznar and Silvio Berlusconi - were the perpetrators of EU's division on Summer 2003, regarding the military invasion in Iraq. How suitable is for Europe's presidency a man who contributed to the destabilisation of EU's effort to create a truly Common Foreign Policy? Even France's President Nicolas Sarkozy - who had supported Blair's EU ambitions in the past - has changed his mind. According to Jean-Marie Colombani, ex-director of "Le Monde", a reason that forced the French President to withdraw his support on Blair was the fact that "as special EU envoy to the Middle East, Blair hasn't done anything"(The Independent, July 2, 2009).
As a result of that, the new favourite for the position of Europe's President seems to be the former Socialist Premier of Spain, Felipe González. But even if Mr.González wouldn't prefer to take the job, there are still many european politicians who are far more appropriate for the position than Tony Blair - leaders like Portugal's José Sócrates, Greek ex-Premier Costas Simitis or Luxemburg's Jean-Claude Juncker. Because, indeed, what the European Union needs is a truly pro-Unionist new President who has the credentials to contribute effectively to the proper function of the Treaty of Lisbon. What Europe does not need is a leader who has been proved a "flunkey" of US Foreign Policy and a divisive force within the Union.
The Right Honourable Tony Blair is just not the answer to EU's new challenges.