Sunday

25th Aug 2019

Van Rompuy keen to shift some EU summits out of Brussels

  • EU President Herman Van Rompuy (r) in talks with Chancellor Werner Faymann on his first official visit to Austria (Photo: BKA/Bernhard J. Holzner)

Just four months after the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, centralising EU policy-making in Brussels, the union's new president, Herman van Rompuy, has suggested that EU summits should from time-to-time take place in the member state holding the rotating EU presidency.

Speaking to press in Vienna on Tuesday (6 April) during his first official visit to Austria as President of the European Union, Mr Rompuy said:

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"It would be a good idea if at least one major event, such as the European Council, was held in the member state holding the rotating presidency ...That would be a symbol that Europe is not just Brussels, but the 27 member states."

The new treaty does not specify where summits are to be take place. It says that "the European Council shall meet twice every six months, convened by its President." It adds that "when the situation so requires, the President can convene a special meeting of the European Council."

Mr Van Rompuy, a christian democrat politician and the former prime minister of Belgium, has already chaired three EU summits in Brussels since he took office in December 2009. Not afraid to try a new approach, he opted to hold his first summit in an old library in order to create an informal atmosphere.

As Belgium will be the next country holding the EU presidency, Brussels is bound to host all EU summits for the rest of this year, making Hungary the likely place for the first post Lisbon Treaty out-of-Brussels summit in 2011.

"The next presidency is Belgium. We will have to stay in Brussels," Mr Van Rompuy said, according to Austrian media.

Hungary takes over the rotating presidency on 1 January 2011.

Investigation

US billionaires funding EU culture war

Conservative US billionaires, some with links to Trump, are paying anti-abortion lobbyists in Europe tens of millions of dollars to shape policy and law.

Investigation

The EU committee's great 'per diem' charade

Around 30 members of European Economic Social Committee, who live and work primarily in Brussels or nearby, have claimed €1.47m in a 'daily subsistence' allowance from European taxpayers to cover accommodation, food and local transport for meetings held in Brussels.

Exclusive

Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings

The German former secretary-general of the European Commission held some 21 meetings which were registered in the lobby register. But no documents appeared to exist summarising what was said.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us