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EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has sided with smaller member states in trying to restrict the role of the proposed president of the European Council, a new post created by the Lisbon Treaty. Addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday (7 October), Mr Barroso chastised MEPs for referring to the post as "president of Europe." ..... Some member states, such as France, have indicated they want to create a major player with the presidential job by appointing someone who can open doors in the US and China and who can give the EU some gravitas on the world stage.
"Yes he is a big character but you can't do the job if your member state is not in big EU policies [such as EMU]," said the prominent industrialist, who currently sits on the board of numerous cross-border companies and is a key behind-the-scenes mover in European circles.
Mr Blair has emerged as a frontrunner in recent days following reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been persuaded to swing behind the British candidate.