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Van Rompuy and Ashton to step down in 2014

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and Catherine Ashton, European chief of foreign policy, have announced they will leave their posts at the end of 2014, European media outlets have reported.

Van Rompuy, who is 65, has said he is planning to retire from politics. The former Belgian prime minister was elected to his post in 2009 and his term was renewed in 2012. Under EU rules, he cannot stand for re-election when his term ends in November 2014.

Ashton, who has served as chief of foreign policy since 2009, has said she would not stay in the post after her mandate ends at the end of 2014, although she would be eligible to run for a second term. She said that her job is exhausting because it requires so much travel.

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