Blair on lookout for high-profile job
May 4, 2007 - 6:26:30 PM
London, May 4 - The job prospects for Tony Blair once he steps down as Labour leader and prime minister range from taking on a high-profile position in the European Union - to becoming a roving ambassador for Africa and the Middle East, press reports said Friday.
Blair, who turns 54 this Sunday, is expected to announce that he will step down after a decade in office later next week.
According to the Financial Times, Blair is unlikely to be content with 'simply taking to the international lecture circuit,' and will seek an 'executive role,' including possibly filling the new post of president of the European Union.
The post, expected to be created under an overhaul of the EU treaty later this year, could see Blair become president of the European Council in two years' time, said the Financial Times.
'He is deeply frustrated at leaving the European stage at a time when his three most senior counterparts are set to be like-minded reformers,' said the paper.
Blair had formed a 'close working relationship' with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jose Manuel Barroso, the EU Commission president.
He had also been 'wooed, and to a degree imitated,' by French presidential contender Nicolas Sarkozy.
However, the Daily Telegraph said Blair could opt for a role as roving ambassador for Africa and the Middle East after his withdrawal from frontline politics.
The paper said Blair had decided to spurn the chance to earn up to 10 million pounds - a year on the international lecture circuit by concentrating on raising money for his new Blair Foundation, which will fund humanitarian work in Africa.
Blair is also said to have agreed to a request from US President George W Bush that he will fly to the Middle East when requested as a special envoy to try to revive the stalled peace process.
Four trusted confidants who have held a number of private dinners in London since the start of the year to help him map out a career plan after he leaves office were advising the prime minister.
Sally Morgan, a former close Blair adviser who left her post in Downing Street in 2005, heads the 'modern day Gang of Four'.
Critics have said, however, that Blair's role in the Iraq war would disqualify him from taking on a high-profile role in international politics, especially in the Middle East.
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