Outgoing Belgian Prime Minister chosen to lead European Council

Outgoing Belgian Prime Minister chosen to lead European Council
Charles Michel will leave his current post as head of the federal government for top EU job. Credit: © Belga

Outgoing Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has been appointed to lead the European Council by his fellow European Union (EU) leaders, who clinched a deal Tuesday evening following days of lengthy negotiations to decide the future occupants of the bloc's top jobs.

Michel, a member of the liberal Mouvement Reformateur (MR) is set to leave his current role in Belgian politics and move up to the EU stage to replace ex-Polish Prime Minister and the Council's current president, Donald Tusk.

Following his appointment, Michel on Twitter said that leading the Council was "a great responsibility" and task that he would fulfil with "commitment."

"A united Europe with respect for national diversity is my objective," he said, adding that he would seek to uphold the values of "solidarity, freedom and mutual respect."

Michel's appointment comes after intense and lengthy discussions by EU leaders broke initially deadlocked negotiations, resulting from regional differences and priorities between the bloc's leaders.

Following the announcement, Tusk said his successor's experience as Belgium's prime minister made him an "ideal" candidate, as he would be able to find "consensus and [build] unity" among EU members.

Michel is now the second Belgian politician chosen to lead the Council, following Herman Van Rompuy, who led the institution from 2009 to 2014.

The outgoing Belgian premier, is also the first leader appointed to the position who does not belong to the centre-right European People's Party.

Michel is set to assume his position on December 1, setting a deadline for the national politicians he is leaving behind to conclude negotiations for the formation of a federal government in Belgium.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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