EU leaders reappoint Donald Tusk as European Council president

Tusk has served as EU council president for the last two-and-a-half years
Tusk has served as EU council president for the last two-and-a-half years
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10 March, 2017

"European Council President Donald Tusk was confirmed for a second mandate Thursday despite opposition from his native Poland, Luxembourg Premier Xavier Bettel tweeted, saying: "Habemus presidentum" of the European Council, good luck Donald!".

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo earlier this week wrote a letter to MEPs underling the lack of Poland's support for Tusk.

The leaders from 27 European Union member sates will meet again on Friday to prepare for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, as British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is expected to trigger Article 50 to start Brexit talks later this month, will not attend. What some consider the ruling party's efforts to undermine rule of law by taking over the constitutional court have been debated extensively in Brussels, though without impact in Poland.

In Brussels, the PM is not expected to discuss Brexit and has no bilateral meetings arranged with other leaders, but will stress that the United Kingdom is a strong advocate of the EU's free trade agenda, and wants to see strong economic growth in the bloc.

Tusk ruled Poland between 2007 and 2014 in the centre-right Civic Platform party.

"I see the re-election of Donald Tusk as a sign of stability for the entire European Union", she said.

Tusk was prime minister at the time.

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Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told press on Thursday evening that there were different legal formats by which the member states could formally confirm the decisions taken.

"Grateful for trust and positive assessment #EUCO (European Council)".

Poland had earlier proposed Polish member of European Parliament (MEP) Jacek Saryusz-Wolski for the position instead.

But the enmity between Tusk and Kaczynski, who once fought together to bring Communism down in Poland, goes back years.

But by Wednesday, diplomats from several member nations said it was clear that Warsaw had little or no support while Tusk had strong backing.

The president's role is to chair European Council meetings and drive forward its work, as well as represent the EU externally at his level on issues concerning the bloc's common foreign and security policy.

"Unity does not equal uniformity", French President Francois Hollande said after the talks.


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