Tony Blair's EU president plan dismissed

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair's vision for an elected president of the European Union was dismissed today by Foreign Secretary William Hague, who insisted its members had more pressing priorities than further "constitutional tinkering".

Mr Hague said elected presidents were "for countries", adding: "The EU is not a country."

Asked about the former prime minister's call for further European integration and the creation of an elected head, the Foreign Secretary suggested that Mr Blair was thinking of the role for himself.

"I can't think who he had in mind," Mr Hague joked.

Speaking at a Lancaster House press conference following talks with his South African counterpart, he went on: "Elected presidents are for countries.

"The EU is not a country and it's not going to become a country in my view, now or ever in the future. It is a group of countries working together.

"So the appropriate solution is not an elected president for a group of countries, it's for those countries each to promote economic growth in their countries, to bring their deficits under control.

"They are the immediate priorities for Europe, rather than further constitutional tinkering or change."