The European Union will soon choose its first president to lead Europe. The Christian Monitor stated that the “EU is not waiting around for its next move…the Council of Europe is expected to decide on its first president, a ‘George Washington of Europe,’ and on a high representative for foreign affairs.”
The United Kingdom’s Tony Blair is no longer a contender for the position, as his left-of-center political views clash with Europe’s desire for a middle-of-the-road leader. The UK has also excluded itself from the “euro-zone,” leaving a beehive of activity to find the right candidate. A winner now appears imminent.
“For months, many had assumed that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had an inside track on the EU job. Many saw him as the kind of prominent elder statesman who could command instant respect and actively pursue EU interests abroad. Soon, however, it became apparent that EU heads of government were not interested in competing for attention with a political star like Blair. Furthermore, his support of former US President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq made him anathema to many EU leaders. At the EU summit at the end of October, consensus built that the first EU president should come from one of the smaller member states” (Der Spiegel).
Both German and French leaders support the approval of Belgium Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, who is seen as not politically extreme and someone acceptable to other European leaders.
“A day after the Lisbon Treaty won final approval, Belgium’s prime minister emerged as the favorite…to take the European Union’s first presidential post, with Britain in the running for the top foreign policy job” (The New York Times).