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Brussels, 17 February 2010

New Head of the EU Delegation in Washington

Today, the European Commission decided to appoint Mr. João Vale de Almeida as the Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States. He will take up office in Washington in the next months following host country agreement procedures. The position has been vacant since the departure of the former Head of Delegation, John Bruton, at the end of October 2009.

Commenting on the appointment, President Barroso said: “EU/US relations are a top priority for the European Union. The decision taken today, in the first meeting of the new College, to appoint the highest senior official in charge of external relations to be our representative in Washington, testifies to our political commitment to enhance and deepen the transatlantic relationship in a crucial moment for bilateral relations and global governance”.

High Representative/Vice President Ashton said: "Mr Vale de Almeida brings significant experience to this important post and his appointment is of great value to the transatlantic partnership. As the EU's G20 / G8 Sherpa, he has shown the intellect, the experience and the ability to work with all key actors in this important relationship. This will be to the benefit of the EU as a whole".

The appointment of the Head of Delegation in Washington was part of the 2009 rotation of Heads of Delegation but could not be formalised in recent months given the caretaker nature of the College since the end of the formal mandate of the Barroso I Commission.

João Vale de Almeida, 53, is a Portuguese national and a European official for 27 years. He was appointed Director General for External Relations in June 2009. He served as Head of Cabinet of President Barroso for the entirety of his first mandate as President of the Commission. He has also been his Personal Representative (“Sherpa”) for G8 and G20 Summits since 2004. Until taking up office in Washington he will continue to lead DG RELEX and assist HRVP Catherine Ashton in setting up the European External Action Service, and to represent President Barroso in the preparations of the G8 Muskoka and G20 Toronto summits of June 2010.

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