Van Rompuy proposes informal summit

At the European summit in Brussels President-Elect Herman Van Rompuy expounded on his vision of his job as the first full-time President of the European Council. He is planning a first summit of European leaders in February. He wants to focus on the economy and economic recovery in the EU.

Herman Van Rompuy will become the first full-time President of the European Council from January 1, 2010. Sweden holds currently holds the rotating EC presidency with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Under the recently implemented Treaty of Lisbon a full-time President of the European Council was appointed for the first time: Herman Van Rompuy.

During dinner on the first night of the last EU summit of 2009 Mr Van Rompuy expounded on his vision of the new job. Mr Van Rompuy is in favour of a less formal formula and to focus on real political discussion.

Following the expansion of the European Union to include 27 member states, the European meetings had become very formal events, prepared to the last details by diplomats sometimes weeks in advance. Incoming President Van Rompuy suggests more informal meetings with less pomp and circumstance and more down-to-earth turning up of the sleeves.

In February Mr Van Rompuy will organise an informal summit regarding a social/economic strategy for Europe against the backdrop of the financial crisis.

According to Commission President José Manuel Barroso the summit will include budget discussion and how to improve the competitive position of companies in the European Union.