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EU: Council President

Volume 714: debated on Tuesday 10 November 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (a) Ministers, and (b) civil servants, have lobbied (1) foreign Governments, and (2) officials in the European Union institutions, to promote Mr Tony Blair's appointment as President of the European Council upon ratification of the Lisbon treaty. [HL6032]

My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has long been clear that the Government think that Tony Blair would make an excellent candidate and an excellent President of the European Council. Other members of the European Council share the same view. Ministers will talk to our European colleagues about what is the best outcome, and will continue to do so. Officials have not been instructed to lobby for potential candidates.

The Government hope that we can have an agreement soon that allows us to choose Commissioners and a President of the European Council. The current chair of the European Council, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, made clear recently that he would not seek nominations for this role until he had clarity on when the Czech Republic would ratify.