UK's Brown: foreign policy chief not headed to EU

AP News
Posted: Nov 10, 2009 10:29 AM

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday that his foreign policy chief, David Miliband, is not in line for a major European Union job.

Brown told reporters that Miliband will not become a candidate to take over a role as EU high representative, the organization's spokesman on foreign affairs and defense.

Miliband has been the subject of intense speculation about his future, with some European leaders said to be eager to appoint him to the role, which is being created as part of internal EU reforms.

"David Miliband was never a candidate for the high representative job," Brown said at a Downing Street news conference.

The BBC reported Monday that Miliband had formally ruled himself out in a conversation Sunday with former Danish Premier Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, now head of the Party of European Socialists, to which Brown's Labour Party belongs.

"Britain has only one candidate for the European Council positions that are being discussed at the moment. That candidate is Tony Blair and his candidature is for the presidency of the council," Brown said.

Brown has pushed for Blair to be appointed the first permanent president of the European Council _ the EU's committee of national leaders _ despite reservations among some European counterparts.

Smaller nations favor appointing someone from their ranks, while the leaders of major countries are thought unlikely to back a high-profile figure like Blair, who could overshadow them on the world stage.

Brown said that decisions over who will be appointed to the posts, which were created under the European Union's newly ratified reform treaty, will be "sorted out in the next few days."