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Blair's chances of being president of the European council may be over; Jean-Claude Juncker is the man to beat. Plus Slovenia tries to keep a lid on the Balkans

By Manneken Pis   January 2008

The other presidential race

Tony Blair’s campaign to become the first president of the European council has been dealt a lethal blow before it ever really got going. The post, created by the new EU reform treaty, will not be filled before December 2008 at the earliest, but Blair had received a surprising semi-endorsement from Nicolas Sarkozy in the autumn. But now two other leaders have all but declared Blair unacceptable. Angela Merkel and Romano Prodi are seasoned politicians who do not couch things in direct and personal terms. Nevertheless, at a recent summit, the German chancellor and Italian…

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