Van Rompuy 'the Radical' plots EU Summit venue change - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Van Rompuy 'the Radical' plots EU Summit venue change

Wednesday, 7 April 2010
It is still less than six months have passed since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, but the EU’s new President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, continues to make ‘radical’ changes to EU procedure.

Herman Van RompuyAfter extraordinarily deciding to host his first summit (February 11th) in the chair at the 108-year old nearby Bibliotheque Solvay (pictured below left) instead of its normal meeting venue, the Justus Lipsius building, Mr Van Rompuy has now suggested that EU summits should also occasionally take place at venues in the member state that is holding the rotating EU presidency at the time.

His vision was made public when addressing the press in Vienna as he makes his first official visit to Austria in his new role:

It would be a good idea if at least one major event, such as the European Council, was held in the member state holding the rotating presidency,” Mr Van Rompuy said. “That would be a symbol that Europe is not just Brussels, but the 27 member states.

The Justus_Lipsius building in BrusselsConsulting the adopted Treaty, nowhere does it state where summits can be held. Instead, Article 15.3 states that "the European Council shall meet twice every six months, convened by its President" and that "when the situation so requires, the President can convene a special meeting of the European Council."

But the change is unlikely to happen for a while yet since Belgium is the next country holding the EU presidency meaning inevitably Brussels is bound to host all EU summits for the rest of this year – confirmed by Mr Van Rompuy: “The next presidency is Belgium. We will have to stay in Brussels”.

Hungary is then the next country to take over the rotating presidency, with their time in the EU hotseat beginning on 1st January 2011. This will make Budapest the most likely place for the first post Lisbon Treaty out-of-Brussels summit.

Budapest in the Spring? Sounds nice...

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