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Sweden calls summit over EU top jobs

Sweden calls summit over EU top jobs

Published: 11 Nov 2009 09:58 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Nov 2009 09:58 GMT+01:00

Sweden, which currently hold the rotating EU presidency, has called an extraordinary meeting in Brussels next week with the aim of presenting candidates for the new positions of president and foreign policy chief.

"After an introductory round of consultations with his fellow heads of state and government, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has decided to convene an extra informal summit on 19 November," the EU presidency said in a statement.

It is hoped that the 27 European heads of state and government will reach agreement at the dinner summit on the key new posts created by the EU's reforming Lisbon Treaty, ratified this month.

"My prime minister is going to start a second round of consultations and hopefully we will be able to present the candidates next Thursday," Roberta Alenius, spokeswoman for Reinfeldt told AFP in Stockholm.

However, filling the two posts is proving more difficult than many had expected.

The Swedes wound up a first round of talks with no consensus for either post and many names swirling around, the spokeswoman said.

The British government still backs former premier Tony Blair, despite unpopularity in some European quarters over his support for the war in Iraq.

Others see Britain as on the periphery of the European project as it has joined neither the euro currency nor the passport-free Schengen area.

Current British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Tuesday that his foreign secretary David Miliband "was never a candidate" for the foreign affairs post.

British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, a former EU commissioner, said he had been sounded out for the job left open by Miliband.

The current favourite to become president of the EU council is Belgium's centre-right Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, who has French and German support according to diplomats.

However the discreet negotiator, busy keeping feuding Dutch-speaking Flemish and the francophone parties together in his national coalition government, could find himself overshadowed by his main backers and, if chosen, find his role reduced to facilitator and consensus builder.

That could leave the way clear for a more forceful foreign policy chief, taking a firm platform to the likes of the China, Russia and the United States.

Reinfeldt, in a Swedish press interview on Wednesday, underlined the difficulties involved in choosing the two key diplomats.

"My discussions show how important it is to have a good balance in the choice of posts," he told the daily Dagens Nyheter.

"The balance between left and right is very important for many, but also between big and small nations, between north and south, men and women," said Reinfeldt.

"It's difficult to fill all the criteria," he added.

Many European countries, including France, hope to seal a deal this week.

In theory the Lisbon Treaty would allow the president's post to be agreed via a qualified majority of EU member states. In practice everyone wants a unanimous decision.

Reinfeldt, who has found it hard to hide his frustration at Franco-German pressure, according to media reports, told the London Times that he might have to resort to the majority option.

He said qualified candidates for the EU president's post would essentially be former or current prime ministers.

The Swedish leader also faces a demand from Poland that shortlisted candidates undergo interviews.

Other names mentioned for the president's post have included Dutch Prime Minister Peter Balkenende and former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga.

For the foreign affairs post, former Italian prime minister Massimo D'Alema is being talked about as a strong candidate in the event of Miliband's regularly stated unavailability.

Sweden has led the discussions since Czech President Vaclav Klaus formally ratified the Lisbon treaty on November 3.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:58 November 11, 2009 by Dr. Dillner
I like the one fellow with the yellow tie!
12:11 November 11, 2009 by Nemesis
For president of Europe, anyone but the war monger, Tony Blair. A demented muppet on crack cocaine, would be a step up from Blair. Also if we have Blair for president, that means we are also stuck with his sycophant Peter Mandelson.

In Europe, we need a president from the Eurozone.

We need a president who will put Europe first, not phone America everytime for a decision on what to do next. We are Europeans, we can think for ourselves.

Europe has far better and significantly more able candidates for the presidency of Europe, such as Paavo Lipponen, Tarja Halonen, Guy Verhofstadt, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Herman Van Rompuy, Mary Robinson, Wolfgang Schüssel or Jan Peter Balkenende. Any of whom would make a very good president for Europe.

I would personally prefer Paavo Lipponen, Mary Robinson or Tarja Halonen. in that order of preferance.
12:29 November 11, 2009 by Rick Methven
I would go for Mary Robinson, but I did read somewhere that she has ruled herself out
12:43 November 11, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Rick Methven

She did rule herself out a while back, but apparently a lot of people are pressuring her to run for this. A lot of European countries would support her if she did run for president. She carries a lot of respect on the left, centre and right in Europe.

She is also a very strong person who would really raise the bar on what a president of Europe should be. Idiots like Blair could never reach that bar. Blair would only command a bit of respect in the USA and be hated everywhere else, which is not what Europe needs.

A lot of very good names are started to be mentioned in regards to the presidency.

Personally I would love to see Paavo Lipponen, Mary Robinson and Tarja Halonen run for president of Europe. Candidates of that calibre would really make Europe shine. They would also command respect in dealings with Russia, China, Latin America, Japan and other countries.

For the second presidental term of Europe, I would like to see Angela Merkel hold the post.

We don't need people like Berlosconi or Blair in Europe.

Strong, able, trustworthy candidates are what Europe needs.

I really do hope that Paavo Lipponen, Mary Robinson and Tarja Halonen can be talked into being candidates for President of Europe. One of them would give Europe a very strong voice on the international stage and in Europe.
12:57 November 11, 2009 by Beynch
Hey Liberals! Save your comments! I know all but two are white males. But as nemesis says: "We are Europeans....". Hence stick to the topic, not your warped sense of diveeeeeersity.
13:55 November 11, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Beynch

The word liberal is not an insult in Europe. It is actually a complementary term. Thank you.

A suggestion.

When making comments, please explain what you are actually talking about, as your comment makes absolutely no sense at all.
14:08 November 11, 2009 by Princess P
Who is the only one in that photo looking like a right miserable so and so?
18:16 November 11, 2009 by Beynch
@nemesis: Maybe in your limited dream world liberalism is a complimentary term. To the rest of us, decent people, all over the world, liberalism is a mental disorder that must be cured!
18:53 November 11, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Beynch

As usual wrong.

I can't find liberalism in the diagnostic and statistical manual or the ICD.

Liberalism is not listed anywhere as a mental disorder. You are mistaken that it is a mental disorder.

Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, so there is nowhere in Europe you would fit in. I assume you know how to book a flight elsewhere, were you will find a country with the mentality you crave.
19:08 November 11, 2009 by McChatter
@ PrincessP

Why, that's Gordon Brown, of course. He always looks like that. So would you if you were in his position. Poor man's probably thinking about the by-election in Glasgow NE tomorrow. Or is it bye-election as in bye-bye?
23:57 November 11, 2009 by Nemesis
For some information on the subject see.

http://www.se2009.eu/en

That way you can learn everything that Sweden has been doing in the EU
00:13 November 12, 2009 by Davey-jo
Why are there only three women in the picture?
17:32 November 12, 2009 by tigger007
having a euro president really doesn't mean a damn thing,if the EU can't have a solid constitution. EU members can't even agree on one forum of currency without feeling that their own traditions will be forgotten. you can't have a union if everybody is pulling in all directions.how will this EU president will be elected? what if the wrong president is elected will you people throw eggs at him or her?

i wish you luck on this EU president thing,you will need it!
17:50 November 12, 2009 by Nemesis
@ tigger007

Being president of your country doesn´t mean a damn thing.

If you are not from Europe, it is none of your business.
00:46 November 13, 2009 by tigger007
HELLLLLL YEAAAH IT'S MY BUSINESS!

don't get mad if my comments are TRUE and which they are! this is the 7th kingdom of the last days!! i can't help you european dusche bags can't get stuff right! the EU is a BIG JOKE!!!!
07:28 November 13, 2009 by Nemesis
@ tigger007

Until Russians, Europeans, Africans, latin Americans, Chinese and everyone in the Middle East has a vote in the USA, it is none of your business, as it is obvious people in the USA are incapable of voting for sane, tational politicians.

This article is about Sweden in a European forum. It is nothing to do with the USA.
05:59 November 15, 2009 by eurowanderer
Anyone except the war criminal bLIAR, or his crony Mandelson.

bLIAR should be sent to the Hague, not to Brussels.

I do not know if Iran's presidential election was free and fair or not, but if bLIAR is imposed on us, it will most certainly not be free, fair or democratic. If it happens, for once decent people throughout the EU should show their resolve and demonstrate in their hundreds of millions to force him out immediately and to despatch him to the international war crimes tribunal.

Nemesis, bLIAR is no idiot. He is extremely cunning, selfish and dishonest. He hijacked and destroyed the Labour party for his own benefit, with the support of 'liberals' like 'The Observer'. You are letting him off lightly by dismissing him as an idiot.

On the subject of 'liberal', considering that most 'liberals' in England wholeheartedly supported the illegal war in Iraq, when even conservatives in mainland Europe opposed it, liberals are just hypocrites. It would take a white 'liberal' in England a fraction of a second to become an anti immigrant right winger if his middle class privileges were taken away.

"If you are not from Europe, it is none of your business." Sounds very 'liberal' doesn't it? Does that mean for all those who are not from USA, it is none of their business who the President of USA is?
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