Ie Belgian Charles Michel, elected for the first time as head of the European Council on 1er December 2019, was reappointed for a second consecutive term, lasting two and a half years. He will therefore officiate in Brussels until November 30, 2024. The former Belgian Prime Minister, 46, was unanimously re-elected by the EU Heads of State and Government forming the European Council, meeting for a summit dedicated to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This renewal was expected, no other candidate having presented itself.
This function, which became permanent following the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009, was occupied before him by another Belgian, Herman Van Rompuy, and by the Pole Donald Tusk. Both had also been reappointed for a second term.
Tensions with Ursula von der Leyen?
The role of the President of the European Council is to prepare and lead the summits of EU Heads of State and Government. In the distribution of the “top jobs” of the EU in 2019, Charles Michel had been able to take advantage of his practice of consensus as the former leader of a multiparty coalition in Belgium. He is part of the generation of pro-European leaders alongside Frenchman Emmanuel Macron and Luxembourger Xavier Bettel.
To his credit, Charles Michel can point to the agreement reached in the summer of 2020 at the end of a four-day, four-night marathon summit on a massive European recovery plan to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, financed for the first time by common borrowing. It also ensures the external representation of the EU at the level of Heads of State and Government. A visit to Ankara had also revealed tensions with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, linked to the protocol hierarchy between these two EU leaders.
During an interview between the two EU leaders with the Turkish president in April 2021, the German was relegated to a sofa, apart from Charles Michel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who sat on armchairs side by side. . This scene, widely relayed on social networks, had sparked accusations of sexism, and Charles Michel had been criticized for not having reacted.