A consensus was reached at a summit in Brussels after Britain dropped its insistence that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should become president, ending weeks of deadlock and opening the way to agreement on Van Rompuy.
The appointments are intended to bolster the EU's standing and help it match the rise of emerging powers such as China following the global economic crisis.
But Van Rompuy, 62, and Ashton, 53, are low-profile compromise candidates little known outside the EU and at least initially will not have the clout in foreign capitals that an established statesmen such as Blair would have had.
"The deal has been done. Both positions have been agreed," said an EU diplomat present at the talks, which involved all 27 member states.
Malta was represented by Prime Minister …