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Poland steps up tussle over Tusk ahead of EU Summit

The Polish government, led by the Law and Justice Party, has escalated its efforts to block former Prime Minister Donald Tusk from a second term as European Council (EC)…

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Poland steps up tussle over Tusk ahead of EU Summit

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The Polish government, led by the Law and Justice Party, has escalated its efforts to block former Prime Minister Donald Tusk from a second term as European Council (EC) President.

Tusk, who has been EC President since 2014, has the backing of almost all EU leaders.

But at the weekend, Warsaw put forward rival candidate Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, and on Tuesday called for EU leaders to meet with the challenger.

Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, Tusk said he stands above domestic politics.

“I am, and I should be also in the future, impartial and politically neutral,” said the former Polish premier. “At the same time, of course, I am also responsible for protecting EU values and principles and this is also my role and also my deep belief.”

Yet, representatives from Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party argue that this is far from the case, and say Tusk has been engaging in political power play at home.

Polish MEP Ryszard Legutko told euronews: “He (Tusk) took part in the electoral campaign in Poland, supporting one of the candidates in the presidential campaign. Then he more than once attacked the Polish government, criticising it, reprimanding it.”

German MEP Manfred Weber warned that the actions of the Polish government do not reflect well on the country.

“It is obvious that they (Polish government) are playing party political games, and they are damaging the strong influence of Poland on European level, because today the top Polish leader in Europe is Donald Tusk, and they are damaging Donald Tusk,” Weber told euronews.

Technically, Poland cannot veto Tusk’s appointment as, according to the EU treaties, the EC President need only be elected by a qualified majority.