Herman Van Rompuy, who has attempted to guide the European Union through severe financial turmoil, will likely be reappointed president of the European Council at a meeting of the bloc's leaders next week, an EU official said Wednesday.
Though Van Rompuy had served briefly as prime minister of Belgium, he was virtually unknown on the world stage when he was appointed the council's first president in 2009. Van Rompuy was initially seen as an indication that EU presidents and prime ministers had opted for a clerk rather than risk being overshadowed by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
But Van Rompuy, 64, has become regarded as a skillful manager of negotiations among the national leaders _ a quality essential in an institution where unanimity among the 27 heads of government is required for most major decisions.
Denmark holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, and its prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, has been sounding out her colleagues about the decision regarding Van Rompuy in preparation for the summit next week _ the last summit scheduled before his term expires at the end of May _ Preben Aamann, a spokesman for the Danish representation to the EU, said Wednesday.
Aamann said he had no information on how those conversations were going.
Van Rompuy can serve a maximum of one more 2 1/2-year term.
The EU official said no objections were being heard to the reappointment. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a decision that EU leaders had not yet formally taken.
Don Melvin can be reached at http://twitter.com/Don_Melvin