Behind-the-scenes fixer

Frans Van Daele is Herman Van Rompuy's chief of staff whose work goes on discreetly behind the scenes.

The euro crisis has forced Herman Van Rompuy, the first-ever president of the European Council, to accept more than his fair share of the spotlight in the past few months. By contrast, that spotlight rarely catches his wily and vastly experienced chief of staff, Frans Van Daele. Yet from the moment of his appointment in 2009, Van Daele has been an indispensable counsellor and deal-broker standing four-square behind the president. Now the old order is about to change: at the end of October Van Daele retires, and the trusted Belgian partnership will finally be severed.

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