20 Nov 2009

Belgian PM wins European Union presidency

9:00 am on 20 November 2009

Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy has been chosen as the European Union's first president.

The job of high representative for foreign affairs will go to EU Trade Commissioner, Baroness Catherine Ashton from Britain.

The way was cleared for the agreement at a summit in Brussels after Britain stopped its support for the candidace of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr Van Rompuy had crucial French and German support, the BBC reports. He has a reputation as a coalition builder, having steered the Belgian government out of a crisis.