The former Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has been appointed President of the European Council.

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, chosen to be the next president of the European Council, said on Thursday he will be fully committed to promoting the unity of the 27 member states.Antonio Costa said he will assume the new responsibility with a “huge sense of mission” and will be focused on implementing the Strategic Agenda approved today” that will guide the EU over the next five years.

He added that as president of the European Council, from 1 December, I will be fully committed to promoting unity among the 27 member states. He will succeed Belgium’s Charles Michel as chair of summits involving the bloc’s national leaders.

Antonio Costa was chosen at an EU summit on Thursday in which the European Parliament’s three main centrist groups backed Ursula von der Leyen for a second term as Commission president and Estonian premier Kaja Kallas to be the bloc’s new foreign policy chief. In his role, Costa – a center-left moderate Socialist – will have to build bridges between heads of state and government in a fragmented Europe with the far right on the rise.

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