Van Rompuy announces 11 February summit
By Célia Sampol | Monday 04 January 2010
The new European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, got off to a running start on 4 January, his first day on the job. The former Belgian prime minister, who had initially planned to keep a low profile in the press, decided in the end to mark the event with television coverage for the press and a prominent first official statement.
Van Rompuy announced – ahead of the meeting, on 8 January in Madrid, with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero – that he is already at work preparing the extraordinary European Council that will focus on the EU's future economic strategy. He confirmed the date of 11 February for the meeting.
The convening of this EU summit and its date are the personal initiative of the new president. The leaders of the 27 member states discussed the subject in December but never really put the matter to a decision. Van Rompuy, who had already made it clear at the last European Council that he planned to play a more active role on certain subjects, such as the economy, thus begins his term of office by laying claim to his territory and signalling his prerogatives. His initiative also shows that his calendar will not be dictated by the Spanish EU Council Presidency.