"Belgium will lose an excellent PM"

4th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Hotly tipped to become the first President of the European Council Belgium's Federal Premier Herman Van Rompuy's supporters remain highly cautious.

Though the post does not exist yet, Belgium seems to have a candidate to fill the job of President of the European Council.
Currently each EU member state in turn takes over the presidency of the European Union.

The new Lisbon Treaty allowas for the post of President of the European Council. The President will have an important role in steering EU decision-making as he or she will prepare the meetings of the European Council, the heads of state and government.

Initially Britain's Tony Blair was the firm favourite, but under a covert deal between Christian Democrats and Socialists, European Socialist parties retain the post of Foreign Affairs Chief, while the Presidency is up for grabs for a Christian Democrat.

Enter Herman Van Rompuy.

Van Rompuy reluctantly stepped into the Belgian Premier's shoes when rowing between Belgium's Flemish and Francophone politicians had made the country practically ungovernable. In the following months Van Rompuy has managed to calm things down: the economy is his top priority and community issues have been put on the back burner.
The Premier has made no further comment since his statement at last week's European summit, when he said Belgium would "support the best candidate, which we always do."

Quizzed about how he would respond if the post was offered to him, he said: "This problem does not present itself."
Henrik Vos, lecturer in European politics, says that European leaders will take a decision at an extraordinary meeting mid-November. They will only meet when there is a consensus.

Wilfried Martens, former Belgian Premier and President of the European Christian Democrats, says that it's likely that the new President will hail from the Benelux. He believes that Herman Van Rompuy stands a very good chance, due to his recent performance but no final decision has been made yet.

Flemish Christian Democrat leader Marianne Thyssen is also reluctant to be drawn on the issue. She told VRT News: "It would be an incredible honour for Belgium. We'd lose an excellent Premier."


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