Van Rompuy re-elected as European Council President

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Top leaders of the European Union (EU) on Thursday all agreed to extend the mandate of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy for another two and a half years during a summit in Brussels.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy 

As the only candidate for the post, the former Belgian prime minister said immediately after the re-election in his Twitter postings that he was "honored" and that it was "a privilege to serve Europe in such decisive times, also a big responsibility."

The president was also elected as chairman of the projected "euro summit" under the upcoming "fiscal compact" scheduled to be signed on Friday.

"I take this as a vote of confidence in the way we have worked together," said the president, adding that the sovereign debt crisis had shaped the role he held.

Van Rompuy, as the first president of the Council under the Lisbon Treaty that came into force in December 2009, has been preparing and chairing EU summits for the past 27 months, thus also in the spotlight of EU's handling of the eurozone debt crisis.

Some experts believe that his major achievement was providing continuity at a time of severe crisis, while he has also been representing the EU at the United Nations as well as international meetings, together with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Van Rompuy said in a speech after the re-election that his first priority would remain the economy, and that his job was in a way "the guardian of trust."

The euro and the EU were "irreversible projects," he added.

According to EU law, the position of European Council President can only be renewed once by a qualified majority of EU leaders.

Van Rompuy's current mandate should end on May 31 this year while the second one will keep him in the position until the end of 2014.

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