Herman Van Rompuy
The First President of the European Council.
Herman van Rompuy is the first President of the European Council in November 2009. He took office when the Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009. In 2012, he was re-elected for a second term starting on 1 June 2012 and running until 30 November 2014.
At the time of his first election, Herman Van Rompuy was Prime Minister of Belgium. Prior to that he had served in Belgium as Speaker of the House of Representatives (2007-2008) and in several government positions, including as Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Budget (1993-1999), Minister of State (2004) and Secretary of State for Finance and Small Businesses (1988).
A former economist at the National Bank of Belgium, Herman Van Rompuy began his political career in 1973 as national vice-president of his party's youth movement. He has held various responsibilities within his party and in the Belgian Parliament, serving in turn as Senator (1988-1995) and Member of Parliament (1995-2009).
Herman Van Rompuy holds a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, and a Master's degree in Applied Economics from the university K.U. Leuven. He was born in Etterbeek, Belgium, on 31 October 1947, and is married to Geertrui Windels; they have 4 children and 6 grandchildren.
In 1993 trad Van Rompuy toe tot de landelijke politiek en bekleedde hij diverse posities. Zo was hij vice-eerste minister en minister van Begroting (1993-1999), lid van de Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (1999-2008), minister van Staat (2004), voorzitter kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (2007-2008) en minister-president van België (2008-2009).
Van Rompuy doceerde van 1980 tot 1987 aan de Handelshogeschool in Antwerpen en van 1982 tot 2008 aan de Vlaamse Economische Hogeschool van Brussel.
In mei 2014 ontving hij de Karel de Grote-prijs in Aken Duitsland, de hoogste onderscheiding voor Europese verdiensten. Eerder ging deze prijs al naar Winston Churchill, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Paus Johannes Paulus II en Angela Merkel.
In juni 2015 werd hij aangesteld als nieuwe voorzitter van de denktank European Policy Centre.