After the European Parliament elections (May 2014) and the new College of European Commissioners (in place since November 2014) – both covered in SIOPE newsletters – the end of 2014 was marked by another high-level institutional change in the European Union. On 1st December 2014 the mandate of Herman Van Rompuy as the first permanent and official President of the European Council ended, and Donald Tusk took office.
The European Council is composed of the Heads of State or Government of all EU Member States. It meets in regular European Summits and covers major political direction items. As such, it is to be distinguished from the Council of the EU, which is another EU body made up of configurations at Ministry-level and concerned with specific legislative files. The role of the President of the European Council is to steer the work of the European Council sessions/summits and facilitate consensus-building.
Herman Van Rompuy’s term was remarkable, not least as he was the first ever President of the European Council to be elected – and then re-elected for a second term – for this new official post on the EU arena instituted back in 2009.
For SIOPE, Van Rompuy holds a special place thanks to his inspirational speech delivered at the SIOPE-ENCCA Conference in September 2014. On this occasion, Van Rompuy called for solidarity in fighting intensely against childhood cancer to foster more concrete and sustainable research and address healthcare inequalities. ‘We all have a role to play’, he concludes.
We would like therefore to take this opportunity to once again extend our warmest ‘Thank You’ to Herman Van Rompuy for this outstanding contribution.
We also welcome Donald Tusk and look forward to cooperating with the new President of the European Council towards a Europe where no child dies of cancer and survivors thrive.