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Who wants to be chairman of the EU Council?

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Robin Lustig | 03:05 UK time, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Would there be less interest in it if we called the job-that-Tony-Blair-perhaps-wants the chairman of the EU rather than the President?

Might all the fuss be the result of a mis-translation? I ask, following a letter in the Financial Times recently which pointed out that the French word "president" can be translated both as "president" and as "chairman", as in chairman of the board of directors of a company.

You could argue that the job description as at Article 9B of the Lisbon Treaty sounds rather more chairman-like than president-like.

Here's what it says:

The President of the European Council:
(a) shall chair it and drive forward its work;
(b) shall ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European
Council in cooperation with the President of the Commission, and on the
basis of the work of the General Affairs Council;
(c) shall endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European
(d) shall present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings
of the European Council.

The President of the European Council shall, at his level and in that capacity,
ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy, without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

After all, the man who started this whole process rolling was former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing. And I think we can safely assume that he wrote the original in French.


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