ALTHOUGH much of EU gossip and speculation is focussed on whether Tony Blair is the man for the job of President of the Council of Ministers of the EU, there will be an equally important role to fill as High Representative for Foreign and Security if the Lisbon Treaty comes into existence, as seems increasingly likely, by the end of this year. The principal task of the President will be to make more effective the ways in which the 27 members of the EU handle ongoing policy issues than the existing six-month revolving presidency permits. The High Representative will be, in effect, the EU's foreign minister and as such likely to be its most familiar figure in the world's diplomatic corridors. An interesting name for this important post surfaced yesterday -- Lord Patten of Barnes, currently Chancellor of Oxford University, but better known as Chris Patten, former MP, Conservative Party election tactician, Governor of Hong Kong and EU Commissioner for external affairs. He has said his reaction would be “very positive” if he were asked about taking the job and this has probably infuriated Gordon Brown and David Cameron in equal measure. Brown is backing Blair for the President's post and would not want a second British politician in the running for another job. Cameron will not want any senior Conservative showing any enthusiasm for a top European Union position. There are other names under consideration but Patten has all the right credentials.


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