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New EU President prepares to take office

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New EU President prepares to take office


The EU’s first permanent president is enjoying his last few days of relative obscurity, before Monday’s first day at work. Belgium’s Herman van Rompuy was catapulted into the spotlight after winning Europe’s top job late last year. He’s putting the economy at the top of his agenda:

“Many experts predict that Europe’s economic growth will only be 1%, some even say 0.6%. But at that level we will not be able to maintain our welfare state systems. So we need to stimulate growth. All countries have the same problem, so this is absolutely the top priority for the coming six months. A new strategy for Europe is needed. We call it the “Strategy 2020”, to finance the welfare state.”

Van Rompuy is a consensus builder, experienced in the softly-softly political approach of his native land:

“We shouldn’t create too high expectations, too far away goals. No, we should go forward step by step. That method that has produced results in Belgium, and should be employed in Europe as well.”

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