Sweden seeks to clarify EU president's role (Extra)
Nov 19, 2009, 14:40 GMT
Brussels - The European Union's Swedish presidency on Thursday tried to clarify what the bloc's first-ever full-time president should do as EU leaders arrived in Brussels to nominate the new top official.
EU member states are torn over whether the president should be a superstar who would stand on the same level as the US and Chinese presidents, or a lower-profile manager who would not overshadow the EU's national leaders.
'The Lisbon Treaty will transform the council (of EU leaders) into an EU institution and introduce the role of a stable president,' a briefing paper circulated among EU diplomats said.
The president should 'chair and drive forward' the EU's work and 'endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus' between member states, the paper said.
Those lines were taken word for word from the Lisbon Treaty, which is set to come into force on December 1.
But the Swedish paper omitted a key clause from Lisbon which says that the president shall 'ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy,' - a mission previously seen as one of the president's key roles.
EU diplomats Thursday suggested that the omission of the crucial paragraph could be intended to head off a potential power struggle between the president and the bloc's new foreign-policy director - the other key post created by Lisbon.