Few doubt that Tony Blair has flair and international cachet. That might well work against the former British leader as EU leaders started mulling Thursday who should become the European Union's first president under a sweeping new reform treaty.
In a race where no one has formally declared candidacy and the job is still ill-defined, there are as many nations that lean toward appointing a low-key technocrat as those that want a towering figure who can go head to head with other global powers.
"Yes, we have all heard names. But the work to achieve a larger consensus, that is going to take some time," said Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero. The Socialist leader stopped short of endorsing the Labour Party's Blair.
Some leaders suggested the EU needs to figure out what the president will do before it decides who it will be.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said there was "no use in starting a name process if you don't know where it will end."
"Once we have that, we will move swiftly," he said.
Blair is seen as the "strong" presidential candidate while rumors abound about candidates in the other corner, with such names as Dutch premier Jan Peter Balkenende, Belgian leader Herman Van Rompuy, Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker and Finnish ex-premier Paavo Lipponen mentioned.