By Hilary White

ROME, November 2, 2009 ( – Now that the last barrier has fallen to implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, reports are increasing that Tony Blair's chances of getting the top spot in the soon-to-be-constituted super-nation of Europe are fading fast.

After eight years of battling against it, Czech President Vaclav Klaus has signed the Lisbon Treaty, the last national leader of the EU's 27 member states to do so. Attention now goes towards filling the new leadership jobs of president and foreign minister of Europe.

Opposition to the former British PM's bid for the new EU Presidency – which has previously been considered a shoo-in - grew across Europe after an EU summit in Brussels last week, with former supporters in France and Germany giving Blair thumbs down.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that their two centre-right countries, considered the most powerful members of the EU, would work together to propose a candidate. 

Open Europe (OE), one of the leading Euro-watch groups, said that the rejection of Blair is the result of a deal between socialist governments and a group of “centre-right” countries. Under this deal, OE says, the left would nominate for the post of EU foreign minister, and the centre-right governments would nominate the president.

Sarkozy was the first European leader to name Blair as a candidate for the presidency in 2007. But OE reports that Jean-David Levitte, Sarkozy's foreign policy adviser, said this weekend it was unlikely that France would support a presidential candidate from the UK.

Some European papers are speculating that it is the British desire to preserve the country's parliamentary sovereignty through various 'opt-outs' from Lisbon, negotiated by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that has put the European leaders off a British candidate. Prime Minister Jose Zapetero was quoted by the Times as saying, “I want a real European president who wants to strengthen the union. He has to be in favour of the union and of the common policies.”

Critics of the post say that under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, the new EU president will have no democratic mandate whatsoever, being appointed by the leaders of the EU in a process that will neither require nor allow any input from the public.

The leader of Britain's Conservative party, David Cameron, who is likely to become the next Prime Minister and will therefore have a key role in the newly united Europe, has said that Blair would be “unacceptable” to the British people as EU president. But Cameron said his party objects not only to Blair's appointment, but to the whole notion of a president of the “state of Europe.”

“We think that Europe is supposed to be an association of member states, not a country called Europe,” Cameron told the BBC. Cameron noted the loss of support by the Labour government for reneging on its previous promise of a referendum on Lisbon.

This weekend, however, David Cameron signaled that should his party form the next government, it will not give the public a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty post-ratification as promised.

Cameron's Treaty promise has been a key component of his party's rise in popularity after the ruling Labour party refused the referendum. In the run up to the last general election all of Britain's major political parties promised a plebiscite on Lisbon.

Conservative Home, the blog aggregate site for the Tory party, says that “conversations with a dozen good sources” in the party have confirmed that if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified when the party reaches power next year, the Conservative leadership will say that there will be no attempt to “unratify it” via a referendum. Instead there will be negotiations with the EU to repatriate “key powers from Brussels.”

The Times reports that Cameron will only pledge to create laws prohibiting any British Government to push through any future European treaty without a referendum.

The Observer's Peter Oborne said that Cameron's pulling back from what he called his “ironclad” promises on Lisbon is a “cop-out and a betrayal” and said it is “exactly the kind of post-democratic politics which defined, debased, and finally destroyed, the Blair premiership.”