On 28 December 2008, following the "2007–2008 Belgian political crisis, Van Rompuy was asked by "King Albert II to form a new government after he was reluctant to take up the role of prime minister. He was sworn in as Belgian prime minister on 30 December 2008.
On 13 October 2009 Bloomberg reported that the government of Herman Van Rompuy would seek to tax banks and nuclear power to tame the deficit.
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 in Brussels. "Most important is to keep the direction. That will also provide stability and support."
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% of gross domestic product in 2011 from almost 5.7% 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% 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% of GDP from 0.7%, 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[update], according to European Commission forecasts. Belgium had trimmed debt to as little as 84% 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% at the end of last year."
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."
President of the European Council
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; 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". This opinion is shared by others; he has been described as the painstaking builder of impossible compromises (l'horloger des compromis impossibles) 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." He has also described his role of chairing a body composed of 27 heads of state or government (and finding consensus among them) as being "neither a spectator, nor a dictator, but a facilitator"
Not all parties and fractions had positive words when Herman Van Rompuy took office. "Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party attacked the freshly appointed president by saying : "you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low grade bank clerk". He was fined 3000 Euros (ten days pay) for this by the Bureau of the European Parliament.
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." Van Rompuy referred to the "United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009.
In or just before the first months of his presidency Van Rompuy visited all EU member states, he also organised an informal meeting of the heads of state of the EU. The meeting took place on 11 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.
In fact, the meeting was in part taken over by the growing sovereign debt crisis (at that time, Greece), which was to become the hall mark of Van Rompuy's first two years as President. With EU member states holding divergent positions on this issue, he had to find compromises, not least between France and Germany, at subsequent European Council meetings and summits of Eurozone heads of state or government leading to the establishment of the three-year "European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM)and the "European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in May 2010 to provide loans to Greece (and later Ireland and Portugal) to help stabilise their borrowing costs, but subject to strict conditions.
The European Council also gave him the assignment of chairing a task force on economic governance, composed of personal representatives (mostly ministers of finance) of the heads of government, which reported ahead of schedule to the October 2010 European Council. Its report, which proposed stronger macro-economic co-ordination within the EU in general and the Eurozone in particular and also a tightening of the Stability and Growth Pact was endorsed by the European Council. The latter also charged him with preparing, by December 2010, a proposal for a limited change to the Treaty required to enable a more permanent financial stability mechanism. His draft – for an addition to Article 136 TFEU, pertaining to the Eurozone – was endorsed by the European Council at its October 2010 meeting.
His second year in office, 2011, was also marked by a deterioration of the Greek debt crisis, leading to Van Rompuy calling an extraordinary meeting of the Eurozone heads of state or government in July to adopt a first package of further measures (notably longer term loans at lower interest rates, private sector debt-writedown, further fiscal consolidation in Greece) and again in October (in conjunction with full European Council meetings) to contain contagion from Greece to other countries (through bank recapitalisation across Europe and by leveraging the firepower of the EFSF to about €1 trillion).
His first two years were also marked by his role in co-ordinating European positions on the world stage at G8 and G20 summits and bilateral summits, such as the tense 5 October 2010 EU-China summit. He called a special European Council at short notice in early 2011 on the emerging Libya crisis, which, in agreeing conditions for military intervention, made it impossible for Germany to oppose such intervention once the conditions were fulfilled.
On 1 March 2012 Herman Van Rompuy was re-elected unanimously as President of the European Council by the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member states. President Van Rompuy's second term has lasted for two and a half years, from 1 June 2012 to 30 November 2014. After this second mandate he could not have been re-elected because the European Council President's term of office can only be extended once.
Herman Van Rompuy was also appointed as the first President of the Euro Summit, and this for the same term of office as his Presidency of the European Council. The Euro Summit meetings are to take place at least twice a year.
In 2014, Van Rompuy was awarded the "International Charlemagne Prize of "Aachen for his EU role.
Honours and awards
- "Benin: Grand Cross of the "National Order of Benin
- "France: Grand Officier of the "Legion of Honour
- "Ivory Coast: Grand Officer of the "National Order of the Ivory Coast
- "Japan: Grand Cordon (or 1st Class) of the "Order of the Rising Sun
- "Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the "Order of Orange-Nassau (10 October 2014)
- "Romania: Grand Cross of the "Order of the Star of Romania
- "Slovakia: Grand Officer (or 2nd Class) of the "Order of the White Double Cross
- "Gold Medal of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, in 2014.
- "Slovenia: "Order for Exceptional Merits 
- "" "Beersel, Belgium (13 May 2012)
- "" "De Haan, Belgium (7 July 2012)
- "" "Olen, Belgium (3 October 2013)
- "" "Matsuyama, Japan (18 November 2013)
- "" "Kortessem, Belgium (16 May 2014)
- "Japan: "Doctor honoris causa from the "Kobe University (4 March 2011)
- "Azerbaijan: "Doctor honoris causa from the "Azerbaijan University of Languages (5 July 2012)
- "Vietnam: "Doctor honoris causa from the "Vietnam National University, Hanoi (1 November 2012)
- "Spain: "Doctor honoris causa from the "CEU San Pablo University (12 December 2013)
- "Benin: "Doctor honoris causa from the University of "Abomey-Calavi (21 February 2014)
- "Netherlands: "Doctor honoris causa from the "VU University Amsterdam (20 October 2015)
- "Scotland: Honorary "LL.D. degree from the "University of St Andrews (21 June 2016)
- "England: Honorary "D.C.L. degree from the "University of Kent (14 July 2016)
- "Germany: "Charlemagne Prize (29 May 2014)
- "Netherlands: Benelux-Europa Prize (12 June 2010)
- "Belgium: Harvard Club of Belgium Leadership Prize (8 September 2010)
- "Luxembourg: Collier du Mérite européen awarded by the European Merit Foundation (25 November 2010)
- "Spain: Nueva Economía Forum Prize (10 December 2010)
- "Belgium: Golden medal of the "Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (14 January 2012)
- "Belgium: Honorary senator E Meritu et Honoris Causa of the Movement for a United States of Europe – Action Centre for European federalism (AEF – BVSE), Antwerp (5 February 2012)
- "Netherlands: Otto von der Gablentz Prize (18 April 2012)
- "Austria: European Prize Coudenhove-Kalergi (16 November 2012)
- "Belgium: Michele de Gianni Award (4 October 2013)
- "Poland: Golden Business Centre Club Statuette Award, awarded at the Grand Gala of Polish Business Leaders, Warsaw (25 January 2014)
- "Germany: ESMT Responsible Leadership Award, awarded by the European School of Management and Technology, Berlin, (3 July 2014)
- "Netherlands: Comenius prize (2 April 2016)
Although the European Council is, under the terms of the Lisbon treaty, a separate institution of the EU, it does not have its own administration. The administrative support for both the European Council and its president is provided by the "General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.
The president does have, however, his own private office (cabinet) of close advisers. Van Rompuy chose as his chief of staff (chef de cabinet) Baron Frans van Daele, formerly Belgian ambassador to, variously, the USA, the UN, the EU and NATO and chief of staff of several Belgian foreign ministers. Also in his team are the former UK Labour MEP "Richard Corbett, former Hungarian Ambassador to NATO Zoltan Martinusz, former head of the EU's economic & financial committee Odile Renaud-Basso, "Luuk van Middelaar, his main speech writer, and Van Rompuy's long standing press officer Dirk De Backer.
In 2013 Frans Van Daele retired both as a diplomat and as chief of Staff of Van Rompuy, and was appointed chief of staff to "king Philippe. He was succeeded as chief of staff of Herman Van Rompuy by Didier Seeuws.
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- Jacques Santer à l'occasion du 40ème anniversaire de la Fondation du mérite européen: "l'UE est autre chose qu'une forme de collaboration entre Etats membres" – website of the Luxembourg Government
- Comeniusdag 2016 – website of the Comenius Museum
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|""||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Herman Van Rompuy.|
- President's pages on the European Council website.
- Website 'Manual on Haiku Herman' (Knack December 2009) by his son, Peter Van Rompuy
- Herman Van Rompuy on "Facebook
- Herman Van Rompuy on "Twitter
|"Minister of the Budget
"Johan Vande Lanotte
"Herman De Croo
|"President of the Chamber of Representatives
|"Prime Minister of Belgium
|"President of the European Council
|Chairperson of the "Group of 7
Alongside with "José Manuel Barroso