EU leaders name Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel new European Council president

Belgium’s outgoing prime minister Charles Michel (MR) will succeed Donald Tusk as the new chair of the European Council, popularly known as the ‘president of Europe’. The announcement was made on Tuesday evening, together with announcements of other EU leadership posts, following the May elections.

Michel, 43, is just the third to hold the post but the second Belgian; Herman Van Rompuy of CD&V was the first to occupy the role, which was created a decade ago.

Michel’s name had been circulating for several weeks as a potential candidate for the job, though he was not considered the favourite. His supporters included French president Emmanuel Macron.

Describing himself as “a committed European, but not a naive and smug European,” Michel is currently Belgium’s caretaker prime minister while negotiations continue to form a new federal government.

Press briefing by Charles Michel, European Council President-elect and Belgian Prime Minister