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Warsaw vs. Tusk

Polish ruling party’s abiding dislike of the EU Council head could disrupt his smooth road toward re-election.

1 March 2017

Donald Tusk’s (pictured) expected easy reappointment to a second term as president of the European Council at the EU summit in Brussels next week has hit resistance from his own country.

 

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said Tuesday that Poland will not support its former prime minister's Tusk's run for a second 30-month term, The Associated Press writes. Accusing him of violating EU principles of neutrality regarding the internal affairs of member states and openly supporting the opposition in Poland, Kaczynski said Tusk could not count on Warsaw’s backing.

 

Kaczynski's opposition to Tusk's re-election might stem from personal animosity between the two. As the Financial Times wrote recently, Kaczynski still holds Tusk “morally responsible” for the death in 2010 of President Lech Kaczynski, his twin brother, in a plane crash in Russia. Tusk was the prime minister of Poland at the time of the accident.

 

While, according to Reuters, EU diplomats refer to the upcoming vote as a done deal since a majority vote of the council members would see Tusk reappointed, Polish authorities speak of a possible wider opposition to Tusk's election.

 

“[Tusk's candidacy] has not been submitted, and I unofficially know that a few countries have declared they would not back it. For the time being, all this news is speculation,” Radio Poland quotes Senate Speaker Stanislaw Karczewski as saying.

 

The office of Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has dismissed as “speculation” another Financial Times report that the government wanted to replace Tusk with another Polish centrist, Jecek Saryusz-Wolski.

 

However, the head of Szydlo’s office, Beata Kempa, said yesterday that “talks, consultations are underway,” Radio Poland reports.

 

 

  • The European Council is the EU’s highest executive body. It brings together the heads of state and government of the 28 EU member states. Tusk's current term as president ends on 31 May. He is currently the only candidate for the post, and has expressed his readiness to continue in his current role.

 

  • The conservative PiS came to power in 2015, replacing Tusk’s Civic Platform which had governed the country for eight years.


Compiled by
Liga Rudzite


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