Herman Van Rompuy and Helle Thorning-Schmidt
© European Union, 2012
At their meeting on 1 March 2012 the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member states unanimously elected Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, for a second term of two and a half years, from 1 June 2012 to 30 November 2014. He was also designated the first President of the Euro Summit for the same term of office.
In his acceptance speech President Van Rompuy thanked the EU leaders for the trust they had placed in him and said it was both "a privilege to serve Europe in such decisive times" and "a big responsibility".
Under the Treaties, the European Council President’s term of office can be extended once by the EU heads of state or government.
“Herman, you are a very modest man, but what is not modest is the enormous work you have done for Europe in the past two and half years. On behalf of all colleagues, I would like to extend our thanks!”, said Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt after reaching the conclusion that there was a consensus among the member states on the re-election of Mr Van Rompuy.
Denmark is currently holding the Presidency of the EU Council. Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt led the consultations of the EU leaders on the election.
The President said his first priority in the second term would remain the economy. "Without a strong economic base our social models and welfare states are at risk and we cannot play a role on the world stage," he said.
The post of full-time President of the European Council was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon. The main tasks include chairing meetings of the heads of state or government, facilitating consensus among them and ensuring the external representation of the Union, for example in such fora as the G8 and the G20.
The President of the Euro Summit is appointed by the heads of state or government of the euro area member states that are parties to the "fiscal compact" at the same time as the European Council elects its President. The Euro Summit meetings are to take place at least twice a year.
Highlights of the President's acceptance speech (video on President's vlog)
Full text of the speech (pdf)
Press release (pdf)