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2009… When David Cameron torpedoed the candidacy of Tony Blair

David Mandelson torpedoed Ashton's candidacy for High Representative, according to the Americans - Peter Mandelson's visit to the European Commission on November 6, 2009 (credit: EC / B2 archives)
Peter Mandelson entertained, for a moment, the desire to take the place of High Representative then, once, the Ashton candidacy presented continued to denigrate it, according to an adviser to Hillary Clinton. – Visit by Peter Mandelson to the European Commission on November 6, 2009, credit: CE / archives B2)

(BRUSSELS2) The way in which the Americans followed the different evolutions of the candidates (especially British) for European posts during the composition of the Commission in October and November 2009 is interesting. The opinions contained in the e-mails received by Hillary Clinton from her diplomatic adviser (revealed by Wikileaks), based on personal analyzes or press reviews are more than clear-cut and reveal a climate at loggerheads between Tories and Labor, and within Labor over the distribution of European posts...

The Tories are up against Blair's candidacy: in principle

« Tony Blair lost his chances. The Tories have mounted a campaign against him, not just because they don't want him, but because they don't want an effective EU president. notes Sidney Blumenthal (1), in a Email addressed to the Secretary of State on October 27, 2009. The leader of the opposition, David Cameron, then sided with the anti-EU branch. His letter openly calling on the Czech president not to ratify the Lisbon Treaty sounds like open war against other European leaders. According to the Americans, in an intriguing move, (the Tories) also openly refer to the name of David Miliband as “ EU foreign minister if Tony does not become EU president ", this even if Miliband " denied any interest (in the job) and supports Tony ". " Part of the Tories' anti-Blair campaign, (aims) to hurt Miliband if they can.". Miliband's candidacy was, however, supported by both " Sarkozy and also by (Gordon) Brown (became British Prime Minister in June 2009) who was not opposed to it and even in favor ».

A desperate attempt by Mandelson to get the job

When it turned out that Miliband refused to join the post, former EU Trade Commissioner (and then Minister for Business, Energy and Industry) Peter Mandelson took over, personally campaigning for him. own account among Europeans. Initially, however, Mandelson had “ can't wait for Miliband to take the EU job. Which would have freed him from the possibility of being appointed (British) Minister of Foreign Affairs ". When Miliband refuses, " Mandelson's ambition was thwarted. So he tried to seize the EU position for himself, but without any support in Europe or from Gordon (Brown) ».

Of the madness think the Europeans

« The Europeans thought he had gone crazy. They remembered his bad and even strange behavior as European Commissioner. » When Cathy Ashton was appointed, Mandelson campaigned in the press about her lack of funds, etc. This is the start of a campaign which was partly based on good arguments but which will be nourished throughout the first months of Cathy Ashton from the inside: the Mandelson team, first, the Barroso team then . The High Representative has not really done much to prove otherwise, thus making the task easier for her detractors.


(1) former assistant and special advisor to President Bill Clinton. A trusted man of Hillary Clinton, he campaigned in the 2008 Democratic primaries and served as her 'unofficial' advisor during his role.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).