On 1 December 2014, Donald Tusk, the former Prime Minister of Poland, replaced Herman Van Rompuy, our first permanent President of the European institution.
December 1th 2014 is a special day, as it is 5 years after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and the first handover ceremony in the European Council since the Treaty of Lisbon. Under the Treaty of Lisbon adopted in 2009, the President of the European Council became a stable and full-time function. Prior to that, the head of the European Council was an unofficial position since, when created in 1975, the European Council was established as an informal body.
Mr Tusk, the second President of the European Council entered into office for an (initial) term of 2,5 years, which is renewable only once. On his first day in office as President of the European Council Donald Tusk, said: “I come here with a strong sense of purpose. In these difficult times Europe needs success. And success for Europe, in the coming years, means in my opinion four things”:
- First, protecting our fundamental values: solidarity, freedom, unity against the threats to the Union
and its unity coming from both inside and outside.
- Second, we need ruthless determination to end the economic crisis.
- Third, the European Union must be strong internationally. Europe has to secure its borders and support those in the neighbourhood who share our values.
- And fourth, the relations between Europe and the United States are the backbone of the community of democracies. Both we and the Americans are responsible for the future of our relations.
European Council represents the Union as a whole: the East and the West, the North and the South, smaller and bigger countries, richer and poorer nations, the old and the new. We Europeans are united by our values, which make our continent unique: our respect for every human person, without any exception or discrimination, translated in political democracy and a social market economy. We must defend those values against self-doubt, against outside pressure, even against fanatic barbarism. We must help those who are fighting to preserve or reconquer them. Much is at stake in the dangerous world we live in. The year ahead will be crucial. For all of these things,
The European Council has a pivotal role in shaping this new face of our Union. Action in these fields is vital, given the important challenges awaiting our societies.