Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy has been chosen as the first permanent European Council President. Here are some of the key messages from his first speech.
DEALING WITH THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
"We are living through exceptionally difficult times. The financial crisis, and its dramatic impact on employment and budgets, the climate crisis which threatens our very survival. A period of anxiety, uncertainty and lack of confidence. Yet these problems can be overcome by a joint effort between our countries."
HIS APPROACH TO THE JOB
"There has been a great deal of talk and comment about the future profile and image of the President of the Council. But the key things are dialogue, unity and action: the image of the Council resides in strength through results."
ON THE EU'S DIVERSITY
"Every country has its own history, its own culture, its own way of doing things. Our journey may be towards a common destination but we will all bring along different luggage. Denying this would be counter-productive. Without respect for our diversity, we will never build on our unity. I will always bear this principle in mind."
ON LEAVING HIS BELGIAN POST
"Even if it is particularly difficult to abandon the leadership of my country, I accept your decision and I thank you for the honour you have given me. I didn't [foresee] this high office... but from tonight I will assume it with conviction."