Establishing the EU’s political direction and priorities is part of role entrusted to the President of the European Council. It is also up to the President to ensure cohesion and consensus within the European Council, especially on contested files.
Charles Michel was elected President of the European Council on July 2, 2019, following a consensus reached amongst all heads of state of the European Union. He will be replacing the outgoing Donald Tusk who has been president of the European Council since 2014.
As the eldest son of Louis Michel, a former Belgian European Commissioner, Michel became involved in politics at an early age. In fact, at age 18, he became provincial counsellor in the French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia. Since then, he has become a leading politician in Belgium, especially amongst the French-speaking liberal faction. At 25 years of age, he had already assumed roles such as party chairman of Mouvement Reformateur (MR) as well as Interior Minister for the Wallonian regional government. In 2014, he became the youngest Belgian Prime Minister since 1845, at age 38. During his premiership, he has been hailed as an excellent negotiator since he was able to form a coalition-government in a politically divided Belgium.
Upon his appointment as President of the European Council, Michel stated that there are various issues Europe will have to face this year, mentioning Brexit, the next European budget and climate change as some of the key issues.« Back