» Thursday, February 7, 2008

EU Presidency

Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to Tony Blair about the EU Presidency, the PMS said that the Prime Minister spoke to Tony Blair on a regular basis, as people would expect. The PMS added that there was a collective scratching of heads in Downing Street this morning in response to the story on the BBC, which we did not recognise at all.

The Prime Minister had said, most recently in his interview with John Sopel, that Tony Blair would make an excellent President of the European Union, but this was very premature and we were at an early stage of the process. The way this had been reported on the BBC was not something that anybody in Downing Street involved in the matter, recognised at all.

Asked if anyone in Downing Street had told Tony Blair to move early for the EU President’s job, the PMS reiterated that we did not recognise the story at all. It was a matter for Tony Blair as to whether or not this was something he would want to put himself forward for.

Asked if they had met at Davos, the PMS said that they did not have a chance to meet at Davos, but they did speak on a regular basis.

Asked whether the Prime Minister thought that not being a member of the Euro would bar a country from putting a candidate forward, the PMS replied that all of these issues surrounding the future Presidency of the EU, would have to be considered, but at the moment the Treaty had not even been ratified by all of the member states. Even if it was ratified in time by all member states, it wouldn’t come into effect until the 1st January 2009. So there was plenty of time during the course of this year for these matters to be considered.

Asked if it was a live discussion at the moment and had there been any lobbying on the subject, the PMS repeated that it was very early days. Asked if the Prime Minister had any plans to go and see Mr Barrosso in the near future, the PMS said that the Prime Minister was planning to visit Brussels in the next few weeks.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought Tony Blair would make a good EU President, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had said on numerous occasions that he thought Tony Blair would make a good President, but as he had said, it was a very early stage of the process and it was something that would have to be agreed by all EU member states, so the story this morning was a bit ahead of itself.

Asked if Britain would have to join the Euro for Tony Blair to become EU President, the PMS said that that would not be necessary. He reassured people that the Government’s position on the Euro had not changed and we had five tests in place.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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