Cherie Blair is expected to begin house-hunting in Brussels within weeks after Irish voters paved the way for her husband to become Europe’s most powerful man, the EU President.
The referendum result has removed the largest barrier to creating the role that Tony Blair is expected to win this year, giving his wife unprecedented influence as EU First Lady.
But there are concerns in Brussels that Mrs Blair – whose time at No10 included gaffes over property deals and freebies – could prove a liability for Tony.
A British EU civil servant said: ‘She could create a role like Michelle Obama’s, or be a distraction. The last thing anyone wants is a 21st Century Marie Antoinette.’
What benefits our masters in Brussels have brought us !
Better still is the pittance which her husband will receive as a stipend for graciously ruling over us (and HM the Queen) -
The move will mean a multi-million-pound taxpayer-funded windfall for the Blairs.
His £270,000-a-year salary – more than President Obama’s – and £40,500-a-year housing allowance will allow Mrs Blair to expand their property portfolio from their £3.65million home in London and £5.75million mansion in Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire.
With London two hours away by Eurostar, Mrs Blair can also continue her UK legal work and use her new base to increase EU cases.
Son Leo, nine, would qualify for EU payments for schooling in Belgium.
And Mrs Blair will have a massive platform for promoting her Cherie Blair Foundation For Women, a charity helping women entrepreneurs in countries with poor equality records.
Research by The Mail on Sunday has found that if Mr Blair serves the maximum five years – two consecutive two-and-a-half year terms – he will net a package worth £3.65million. His salary will be taxed at a special rate for Eurocrats, averaging 25 per cent.
On arrival, the Blairs will have all travel and removal costs reimbursed and receive a £45,000 ‘installation allowance’. It has not been revealed what this is supposed to pay for.
After that, the £40,500-a-year ‘residence allowance’ kicks in, allowing the Blairs to rent a home from among the finest chateaux.
Or the payments would help buy a four or five-bedroom Brussels townhouse at around the £1million mark. Mr Blair, dubbed ‘Boney’ Blair after the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, also has a £15,663-a-year ‘personal entertainment allowance’ and chauffeur-driven limousine.
Then there is a £6,727-a-year ‘household allowance’, a £5,652-a-year payment per ‘child in higher education outside Belgium’ and a £2,826-a-year payment per child at school.
When he steps down, Mr Blair will receive a £22,500 ‘resettlement payment’. There will be three years of ‘transition allowance’ payments, totalling about £135,000-a-year.
He would also receive a £57,600-a-year pension from the age of 65 for his five years’ service.
Since quitting as Premier in 2007, Mr Blair is estimated to have made £15million from public speaking, which he will have to drop as President
Thanks Ireland !