In a surprising last-minute move, Tony Blair has dropped out of the race for the European Council’s presidency, a position for which he was an early favorite.

The BBC:

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has dropped out of the race to be European Council President — just as EU leaders meet to decide who to appoint.

The Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy is widely expected to get the job, with French and German support.

The socialist group of EU leaders is now urging the appointment of EU Trade Commissioner Baroness Catherine Ashton as the new foreign policy supremo.

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