Election of Van Rompuy as New EU President Draws Mixed Reaction

The Chosun Ilbo, 21.11.2009

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European woke up Friday to news they had their first full time European Union president – a man most of them had never heard about. Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy is a lok-key politician with a reputation for conciliation.

Janis Emmanouilidis, an analyst at the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies, says Van Rompuy has already shown a talent as a consensus builder when it comes to Belgium's fractious politics. 

"When you look at Belgian internal politics which are very complicated and dominated by problems between the two major groups in Belgium -- the Dutch speaking and the French speaking -- he's been able to cope rather well with that complicated situation. So he's somebody who can seek consensus and that's something you will need within the European council where the heads of state and governments come together and need to find decisions on the highest political level," said Emmanouilidis.

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