» Monday, October 26, 2009

EU Presidency

Asked if the Prime Minister was going to push the issue of Tony Blair’s candidacy for the role of EU President, the PMS said the Lisbon Treaty needs to be agreed then a candidacy process would follow. The PMS said if Tony Blair wished to be a candidate, the Prime Minister would be supportive of that candidacy. The PMS told assembled press the agenda for meetings in Brussels was still being formed. The PMS said although the candidacy could be discussed in the context of the Institutional Issues agenda item, it was unlikely to be a major issue given there are important items like climate change, finance and economic recovery on the agenda.

Asked if there was another EU summit in December, the PMS replied that was for the Swedish Presidency to decide.

Asked whether the Prime Minister thought the candidate for this role would need to be a heavy hitter, the PMS said the job description demonstrated the candidate would have to have to ability to take on a broad representation role as well as chairing the Council. The PMS said the role would need to balance statutory responsibilities with a level of representation that would suggest a candidate with international clout.

Asked if the Prime Minister has discussed the EU Presidency with Tony Blair, the PMS said the Prime Minister and Mr Blair talked regularly.

Asked whether the Prime Minister would seek to block any appointment of David Miliband to the EU Foreign Minister role, the PMS said the Prime Minister was delighted with the work the Foreign Secretary was doing in his role, and noted that Mr Miliband had ruled himself out of contention. The Prime Minister’s priority this week was to attend Brussels and engage with the issues on the table, such as finance, economic agenda and Copenhagen.

Put that the EU Presidency was less important than issues such as the climate and economy, the PMS replied that there was a difference between fixed agenda items that had been selected in the run-up to Copenhagen, and standing items such as Institutional Issues.

Asked if the assembled press could regard the Prime Minister as Gordon Brown’s campaign manager, the PMS replied that Prime Minister had a full role focussing on economic recovery and the Government’s programmes and policies.

Asked whether the Prime Minister would change the UK’s policy on Shengen and the Euro if they proved stumbling blocks for Tony Blair’s candidacy, the PMS replied that was a speculative question, however the Prime Minister would support a candidacy bid by Tony Blair.

original source.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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