Leave aside for a moment the bickering between former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair and current prime minister Gordon Brown and the fact that the U.K. has a whopping sense of entitlement that it should get a top job in Europe despite it being only one out of 27 countries with two new EU jobs to share and consider the new President of the EU Council. The President will be the European Union's top diplomat and statesman and will beEurope's envoy to the world, spreading European values and helping boost the EU's decision-making power on the global stage. No wonder Blair wanted the job.
I feel like we don't know a lot about Herman Van Rompuy yet. Except that he was voted unanimously by our heads of state over dinner and is currently serving as prime minister of Belgium. What comes out strongly is that Van Rompuy is a federalist and a quiet diplomat, more of a consensus-builder than one to stop the presses worldwide. After the turmoil of Belgian politics these last 11 months, perhaps Van Rompuy will be relieved to move over to the EU quarter ofBrussels.
What we don't know yet is what his viewpoint will be both on industry and for the environment. His acceptance speech lists environmental and energy challenges as "big questions of the European project" and said the climate crisis "threatens our very survival". He takes up the reins on December 1 and although he has said he'll be maintaining media silence in the coming weeks, it seems as though his first main event will be the climate summit inCopenhagen.
"Our mission is one of hope, supported by acts and action", he says in the speech. We will judge him on those actions.