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Reaction to first EU president

EU leaders have reacted to the appointment of Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy as the first permanent European Council President.

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

The United States has no stronger partner than Europe in advancing security and prosperity around the world.

These two new positions ... will strengthen the EU and enable it to be an even stronger partner to the United States.

We look forward to working closely with President Van Rompuy and High Representative Ashton ... to address bilateral, regional and global challenges together.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO

I think it will be impossible to have a better choice.

It is also a tribute to Belgium. When selecting the current Belgian prime minister, a man of great qualities as Herman van Rompuy, I think the European [Union] also expressed its gratitude for the work of Belgium and the constant support that this country at the heart of Europe has been giving to our common project.

SWEDISH PM FREDRIK REINFELDT

The idea is to have a leader of the (EU) council... who actually gives room for everyone, who listens to everyone, who creates winners not losers.

We have achieved that.

BRITISH PM GORDON BROWN

He has a reputation for integrity and resolve and... his qualities as a diplomat, as a statesman and as a negotiator will be qualities that he can bring to the European Council and to his new position as president.

FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY

He is a man who is profoundly European and I believe it is a very wise decision to have chosen as the first stable president of the council a man who comes from a founding country of the European Union.



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