Herman Van Rompuy: Wikis

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Herman Van Rompuy


Incumbent
Assumed office 
1 December 2009[1]
Preceded by Fredrik Reinfeldt

In office
30 December 2008 – 25 November 2009
Monarch Albert II
Deputy
Preceded by Yves Leterme
Succeeded by Yves Leterme

In office
12 July 2007 – 30 December 2008
Preceded by Herman De Croo
Succeeded by Patrick Dewael

Minister for Budget
In office
5 September 1993 – 12 July 1999
Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene
Preceded by Mieke Offeciers-Van De Wiele
Succeeded by Johan Vande Lanotte

Born 31 October 1947 (1947-10-31) (age 62)
Etterbeek, Belgium
Political party Christian Democratic and Flemish
Spouse(s) Geertrui Windels
Residence Sint-Genesius-Rode, Belgium
Alma mater Catholic University of Leuven
Profession Economist
Religion Roman Catholicism[2]
Signature Herman Van Rompuy
Website Official website

Herman Van Rompuy (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦɛɾmɑn vɑn ˈɾɔmpœy̆] Pronunciation-Herman Van Rompuy.ogg ; born 31 October 1947) is the first official President of the European Council. A Belgian politician of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party, he served as the 49th Prime Minister of Belgium from 30 December 2008 until his predecessor (Yves Leterme) succeeded him on 25 November 2009.

On 19 November 2009[3] Van Rompuy was designated the first permanent President of the European Council under the Treaty of Lisbon.[4] He was appointed to chair the institution for the period starting from 1 December 2009 until 31 May 2012,[5][6] though he only took up his position officially on the first of January 2010.[7]

Contents

Early life, career and family

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Early life

Born in Etterbeek, Brussels to Germaine Geens and Vic Van Rompuy,[8] he attended Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege in Brussels (until 1965) where Ancient Greek and Latin were his main subjects. Later he studied at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and received a bachelor's degree in philosophy (1968) and a master's degree in applied economics (1971).[9] He worked at the Belgian central bank from 1972 to 1975.[10]

From 1980 till 1987 he was a lecturer at the Handelshogeschool Antwerpen, starting from 1982 he also is a lecturer at the Vlaamse Economische Hogeschool Brussel (VLEKHO).[9]

Family

Van Rompuy is married to Geertrui Windels with whom he has 4 children: Peter (1980), Laura (1981), Elke (1983) and Thomas (1986). His eldest son, Peter, is active in the CD&V party and stood as a candidate for the Belgian regional elections of 2009.[11][12]

His younger brother, Eric Van Rompuy, is also a politician in the CD&V and was a minister in the Flemish Government from 1995 to 1999.[13] His sister, Tine Van Rompuy, is a member of the Workers Party of Belgium. He has another sister, Anita Van Rompuy, who is not politically active.[8] His father, Vic Van Rompuy, was an economics professor.[14]

Political career

Early career

Van Rompuy was the chairman of the national CVP's youth council (1973–1977). From 1975 to 1980 he worked in the ministerial cabinets of Leo Tindemans and Gaston Geens. In 1978 he was elected a member of the national CVP's bureau (1978–present). He first was elected to the Belgian Senate in 1988 and served until 1995. In 1988 he shortly served as Secretary of State for Finance and for Small and Medium Enterprises before becoming the national chairman of the CVP (1988–1993).

Belgian Minister of Budget (1993–1999)

Van Rompuy was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget from September 1993 to July 1999 in the two governments lead by Jean-Luc Dehaene. As budget minister, he helped drive down Belgium’s debt from a peak of 135 percent of gross domestic product in 1993. It fell to below 100 percent of GDP in 2003.[10]

Member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (1995–2009)

He was elected to the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in the 1995 general election, but as he remained minister, he was barred of taking the seat while holding that office. After his party's defeat in the 1999 Belgian general election, he became a member of the Chamber of Representatives. He was reelected in 2003 and 2007. In 2004, he was designated Minister of State.

Position on Turkey joining the European Union

In 2004, he stated "An enlargement [of the EU] with Turkey is not in any way comparable with previous enlargement waves. Turkey is not Europe and will never be Europe." He continued "But it's a matter of fact that the universal values which are in force in Europe, and which are also the fundamental values of Christianity, will lose vigour with the entry of a large Islamic country such as Turkey."[15]

President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (2007–2008)

After 8 years in the opposition, CD&V (CVP was renamed CD&V) returned into the government. On 12 July 2007, Van Rompuy was elected as the President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, succeeding Herman De Croo.[16]

Prime Minister of Belgium

On 28 December 2008, following the 2007–2008 Belgian political crisis, Van Rompuy was asked by King Albert II to form a new government[17] after he was reluctant to take up the role of Prime Minister.[18] He was sworn in as Belgian Prime Minister on 30 December 2008.

Taxes

On 13 October 2009 Bloomberg reported that the government of Herman Van Rompuy would seek to "Tax Banks, Nuclear Power to Tame Deficit".[19]

Quote on financial recovery

“We are in the early stages of a recovery and at this time it is important not to weaken burgeoning confidence and to lay the foundations of a sustainable recovery,” Van Rompuy said in a speech to Parliament today in Brussels. “Most important is to keep the direction. That will also provide stability and support.” .[20]

Policy on government debt

On 13 October Bloomberg reported the following about Van Rompuy's Government Debt Policy: "Belgium will trim its budget deficit to 5.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2011 from almost 5.7 percent both this year and next, according to a slide presentation handed out by State Secretary for the Budget Melchior Wathelet. Van Rompuy told Parliament earlier today that the deficit would widen to 5.4 percent of GDP this year. Belgium’s deficit will be little changed next year as the shortfall at the level of regional governments and municipalities will widen to 1.5 percent of GDP from 0.7 percent, offsetting efforts by the federal government to trim its deficit. Government debt will start exceeding one year’s worth of national output as of 2010, according to European Commission forecasts. Belgium had trimmed debt to as little as 84 percent of GDP in 2007, before bailouts of Fortis, Dexia SA, KBC Group NV and mutual insurer Ethias Group increased the nation’s borrowing costs and inflated the debt ratio to 89.6 percent at the end of last year."[20]

Negotiations and dispute with GDF Suez

On 22 October 2009 Reuters reported that the Van Rompuy Government had signed a commitment with GDF Suez for nuclear power fees to Belgium. The outstanding dispute with GDF concerns the €250 million fee that Belgium is attempting to charge GDF for 2009 as part of its "Renewable Energy Fund" as stated in the article: "Belgium has also charged nuclear producers a total of 250 million euros for 2008 and the same for 2009, as well as 250 million euros this year payable to a renewable energy fund. These fees remain in dispute. The producers are challenging the 2008 payment in Belgium's constitutional court. A spokesman for Van Rompuy said the government would pass a law to enforce the 500 million euro charge for this year, adding that this could also be contested by GDF Suez."[21]

President of the European Council

Herman Van Rompuy meeting Greek Prime Minister Geórgios Papandréou on a visit to Greece (12-Jan-2010).

At a meeting in the Castle of the Valley of the Duchess for a meeting held by Bilderberg group on 12 November 2009, Van Rompuy made a speech about his vision of the European governance. He talked about applying a European Union wide "green"-tax, to cover social security expenses.[22]

On 19 November 2009, Van Rompuy was chosen unanimously by the European Council, at an informal meeting in Brussels, to be the first full-time President of the European Council;[23] for the period of 1 December 2009 (the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon) until 31 May 2012. He took up his position officially on 1 January 2010.

Gordon Brown also praised Van Rompuy as "a consensus-builder" who had "brought a period of political stability to his country after months of uncertainty".[24] This opinion is shared by others; he has been described as the painstaking builder of impossible compromises (l'horloger des compromis impossibles)[25] A statement made by Van Rompuy at a news conference after his selection illustrates his approach:

"Every country should emerge victorious from negotiations. A negotiation that ends with a defeated party is never a good negotiation. I will consider everyone's interests and sensitivities. Even if our unity remains our strength, our diversity remains our wealth."[26]

In a November 2009 press conference, Van Rompuy related to global governance by stating: "2009 is also the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of a financial crisis; the climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet."[27] Van Rompuy referred to the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009.

In the first months of his presidency Van Rompuy visited most EU member states [28][29], he also organised an informal meeting of the heads of state of the EU. The meeting took place on the 11th of February 2010 in the Solvay Library (Brussels), topics to be discussed were the future direction of the economic policies of the EU, the outcome of the Copenhagen Conference and the then recent earthquake in Haiti.[30]

On 24 February 2010, the UKIP leader Nigel Farage was strongly critical of Herman Van Rompuy during his maiden appearance before the European Parliament in Strasbourg. To boos and catcalls, Farage said: "...you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low grade bank clerk. The question that I want to ask and that we are all going to ask is: who are you? I had never heard of you; nobody in Europe had ever heard of you. I would like to ask you, Mr President: who voted for you? And what mechanism - I know democracy is not popular with you lot - what mechanism do the peoples of Europe have to remove you? Is this European democracy?"[31]. Van Rompuy commented afterwards, "There was one contribution that I can only hold in contempt, but I'm not going to comment further."[32]

References

Bibliography
  • De kentering der tijden, Lannoo, 1979
  • Hopen na 1984, Davidsfonds, 1984
  • Het christendom. Een moderne gedachte, Davidsfonds, 1990
  • Vernieuwing in hoofd en hart. Een tegendraadse visie, Davidsfonds, 1998
  • De binnenkant op een kier. Avonden zonder politiek, Lannoo, 2000
  • Dagboek van een vijftiger, Davidsfonds, 2004
  • Op zoek naar wijsheid, Davidsfonds, 2007
Notes
  1. ^ "Belgian ex-premier meets party chiefs as hunt begins for new PM". http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hffLaov4yMGjX5fFgE18-03yIOPA. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  2. ^ "FACTBOX-Who is Herman Van Rompuy? - Industries - Financial Services & Real Estate - Reuters". http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews/idUSLI45257420091119. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  3. ^ "Tony Blair Has Dropped Out Of The Race To Be EU President As Herman Van Rompuy Gets The Nod - World News - Sky News". http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Tony-Blair-Has-Dropped-Out-Of-The-Race-To-Be-EU-President-As-Herman-Van-Rompuy-Gets-The-Nod/Article/200911315457404?lpos=World_News_Carousel_Region_0&lid=ARTICLE_15457404_Tony_Blair_Has_Dropped_Out_Of_The_Race_To_Be_EU_President_As_Herman_Van_Rompuy_Gets_The_Nod. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  4. ^ "European Parliament announces new President and Foreign Affairs Minister". http://government.zdnet.com/?p=6266. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  5. ^ Implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon. European Council, 16-11-2009. Retrieved on 6-1-2010 [1]
  6. ^ EU Lisbon Treaty comes into force, AFP (via Google News), December 1, 2009.
  7. ^ Déclaration de Herman Van Rompuy, à l'issue du dîner des Chefs d'Etat ou de Gouvernement. Herman van Rompuy official website. Retrieved 6-10-2010. [2](fr)
  8. ^ a b www.tinevanrompuy.be Short Tine Van Rompuy biography. Retrieved on 11-1-2010 [3](nl)
  9. ^ a b Herman Van Rompuy biography on the European Council website [4]. Retrieved 4-1-2010.
  10. ^ a b "Bloomberg record on debt reduction of the Belgium's debt in the 90's and early 00's.". http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=alqnA74CDu4U. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  11. ^ "Herman Van Rompuy" (in Dutch). CD&V. http://www.cdenv.be/herman-van-rompuy. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  12. ^ 30 jaar Van Rompuy campagnes. www.ericvanrompuy.be. Retrieved on 18-1-2010 [5](nl)
  13. ^ www.ericvanrompuy.be Short Eric Van Rompuy biography. Retrieved on 11-1-2010 [6](nl)
  14. ^ "Biografie Herman Van Rompuy" (in Dutch). De Morgen. De Persgroep Publishing. 2009-11-20. http://www.demorgen.be/dm/nl/5036/Wetstraat/article/detail/1031523/2009/11/20/Biografie-Herman-Van-Rompuy.dhtml. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  15. ^ "De Standaard Online - Pers boos om ‘anti-Turkse benoeming'". Standaard.be. 2009-11-21. http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=6O2IL32S&kanaalid=854. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  16. ^ Beknopt verslag plenumvergadering donderdag 12-07-2007 namiddag. Meeting of Belgian Chamber of representatives on 12-07-2007, report. www.dekamer.be Website of Belgian Chamber of Representatives. Retrieved on 11-1-2010 [7](nl)
  17. ^ "UPDATE 2-Belgian king asks Van Rompuy to form government - Industries - Financial Services & Real Estate - Reuters". http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews/idUSLS35202520081228. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  18. ^ "FACTBOX - Key facts about new Belgian prime minister - World - Reuters". http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKTRE4BT3N020081230. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  19. ^ "Bloomberg Aricle on Van Rompuy's positions as PM". http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aWc3BM6JABEo. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  20. ^ a b Belgium Will Tax Banks, Nuclear Power to Tame Deficit (Update2). www.bloomberg.com 13-10-2009. Retrieved on 13-1-2010. [8]
  21. ^ "UPDATE 1-GDF Suez signs Belgian nuclear commitment - Reuters". http://www.reuters.com/article/utilitiesSector/idUSLM64184620091022. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  22. ^ [9], Timesonline, Herman Van Rompuy, front-runner for presidency, wants EU-wide tax, 17 November 2009. Retrieved on 11-1-2010.
  23. ^ President of the European Council factsheet. European council 11-12-2009. Retrieved on 9-1-2010 [10]
  24. ^ "BBC News - Belgian PM Van Rompuy is named as new EU president". http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8367589.stm. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  25. ^ Jean-Jacques Mevel, Van Rompuy, l'horloger des compromis impossibles, in the daily newspaper, Le Figaro, 19 november 2009 "online article (fr).". http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2009/11/19/01003-20091119ARTFIG00013-van-rompuy-l-horloger-des-compromis-impossibles-.php. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  26. ^ "European Union settles on a Belgian and a Briton for top posts -- latimes.com". http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-eu-president20-2009nov20,0,7505745.story. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  27. ^ BBC - EU President Herman Van Rompuy on global governance and global management
  28. ^ "European Council President Press Releases". European Council. 2009-11-20. http://www.european-council.europa.eu/the-president/press-releases-%28new%29.aspx?lang=en. Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  29. ^ "The President's schedule (archives)". European Council. http://www.european-council.europa.eu/the-president/the-president%27s-schedule.aspx?lang=en. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  30. ^ "Invitation letter by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, for the Informal meeting of Heads of State or Government". European Council. 2010-2-8. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/App/NewsRoom/loadDocument.aspx?id=1&lang=en&directory=en%2fec%2f&fileName=112819.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  31. ^ "Nigel Farage harangues EU President Herman van Rompuy.". www.youtube.com. EUX.TV channel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bypLwI5AQvY&feature=channel. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  32. ^ "Tirade against 'damp rag' EU president shocks MEPs". BBC News. BBC. 2010-2-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8535121.stm. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Herman De Croo
President of the Chamber of Representatives
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Patrick Dewael
Preceded by
Yves Leterme
Prime Minister of Belgium
2008–2009
Succeeded by
Yves Leterme
Preceded by
Fredrik Reinfeldt
President of the European Council
2009–present
Incumbent

Simple English

Herman Van Rompuy

Taking office
1 January 2010[2]
Succeeding Fredrik Reinfeldt

Prime Minister of Belgium
In office
30 December 2008 – 25 November 2009
Monarch Albert II
Deputy
Preceded by Yves Leterme
Succeeded by Yves Leterme

President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives
In office
12 July 2007 – 30 December 2008
Preceded by Herman De Croo
Succeeded by Patrick Dewael

Born 31 October 1947 (1947-10-31) (age 63)
Etterbeek, Belgium
Political party Christian Democratic and Flemish
Spouse Geertrui Windels
Residence Sint-Genesius-Rode, Belgium
Alma mater Catholic University of Leuven
Profession Economist
Religion Roman Catholicism[3]
Website Official website

Herman Van Rompuy is a Belgian politician. In November 2009 he was appointed the first permanent President of the European Council, which is the meeting of the heads of government of all of the member states of the European Union.

He was previously Prime Minister of Belgium.

References

  1. "New EU president plans first official trip". http://euobserver.com/9/29045. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  2. "Belgian ex-premier meets party chiefs as hunt begins for new PM". http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hffLaov4yMGjX5fFgE18-03yIOPA. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  3. "FACTBOX-Who is Herman Van Rompuy? - Industries - Financial Services & Real Estate - Reuters". http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews/idUSLI45257420091119. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 


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