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Herman van Rompuy got the top EU job by doing nothing. Can he keep up his winning strategy?

By Manneken Pis   January 2010

Manneken Pis may have correctly predicted (see Brussels diary, December) that Herman van Rompuy, the harmless, haiku-loving, Belgian premier, would become the first permanent president of the European Council. But our crystal ball didn’t foresee the appointment going alongside—that of Catherine Ashton as the EU’s foreign policy supremo. Ashton has no foreign policy experience and her appointment horrified many people. But, a few weeks on, her installation is being seen in a slightly more positive light. Part of the reason is that she performed adequately in her first appearance before a European parliament committee. Admittedly she ducked just about every…

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