EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

The following story was published by EurActiv.com on Thursday 29th October 2009.

Leading politicians of the European left appear to have dealt a fatal blow to Tony Blair’s chances of becoming the first permanent president of the European Union, confirming to EurActiv that they want the new position of EU foreign minister instead.

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, responding to a question from EurActiv at a pre-summit press conference on Thursday (29 October), said that the “clear aspiration” of European socialists was to have one of their own installed as High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the other top EU job to be created by the Lisbon Treaty.

The Socialist leader in the European Parliament, German MEP Martin Schulz, later confirmed this when questioned by EurActiv at the Brussels summit.

The revelation, coming in the wake of Zapatero’s meeting with other centre-left leaders from around Europe, would appear to be a final nail in the coffin of Tony Blair’s much-discussed but as yet unconfirmed candidacy for the EU president job.

The Spanish PM’s words carry added weight given that yesterday afternoon, he was appointed as a member of the socialist ‘troika’ negotiating the top jobs on behalf of the European left. He will be joined by Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the president of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

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