Herman Van Rompuy
Who is he: Herman Van Rompuy is the current, and first, full time president of the European Council. When it comes to the market, van Rompuy is uncompromising. In his own words, he believes that, "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."
Van Rompuy's idea of the perfect economy involves all European Union countries adhering to one set of rules, with a wide range of sanctions, fines and other punishments for those countries that do not follow the prescribed rules laid down by Brussels, in essence, restricting and regulating the European market.
Van Rompuy may come across as a benign sort of person, but in fact he is presiding over a European Union that has not allowed people to vote on its activities and has, through various austerity plans, presided over the increasing chaos and civil unrest that marks the EU's tenure. As the soft authoritarianism of the EU gives way to the harder sort, Van Rompuy may find himself presiding over the gradual unraveling of what was supposed to Charlemagne's new empire. Van Rompuy may relish this less than the perks and emoluments to which he has now grown accustomed.
Background: Herman Achille Van Rompuy was born on October 31st, 1947 in Etterbeek, Brussels. Van Rompuy attended the Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege in Brussels, where he studied Ancient Greek and Latin. He received a Bachelors degree from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in philosophy in 1968 and a Master's degree in Applied Economics in 1971. From 1972 to 1975, Van Rompuy worked at the Belgian central bank. He lectured at the Handelshogeschool Antwerpen from 1980 to 1987. Coinciding with that post and starting in 1982, Van Rompuy also lectured at Vlaamse Economische Hogeschool Brussel.
In 1978, Van Rompuy was elected as a member of the national Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams bureau and is a member to this day. In 1988, he was elected to the Belgian senate where he was briefly the Secretary of State for Finance and for Small and Medium Enterprises. After this, Van Rompuy became the national chairman of the CVP until 1993. He remained in the senate until 1995. Van Rompuy had been Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget from 1993 to 1999, where he helped to drive down Belgium's debt from 135% of the gross domestic product in 1993; in 2003, the GDP dipped below 100%.
In the 1995 general election, Herman Van Rompuy was elected to the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, but since he was a minister at the time he could not take his seat while still holding his previous office. In 1999, he took his seat at the Chamber of Representatives. In 2004, he was elected the Minister of State. In July of 2007, Van Rompuy was voted the President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives. That same year, he became the Belgian Prime Minister. Van Rompuy was chosen as the first full time president of the European Council in 2009.
News & Analysis
|03/15/11||Europe's Coming Meltdown|
|06/16/10||Eurozone Still Failing|
|05/31/10||EU Spins Out of Control|
|02/24/10||Nigel Farage Harangues EU President Herman Van Rompuy|