EU's Tusk rejects Polish criticism over new term

Poland's prime minister on Wednesday stressed her opposition to compatriot Donald Tusk's re-election as EU president on the eve of a European summit overshadowed by the row.

Polands issues with Tusk, the centrist former prime minister, stems from a fierce rivalry between him and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, one of the countrys most powerful political figures, and a cofounder of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS).

European Union leaders reappointed Poland's DonaldTusk as President of the European Council on Thursday, sweeping aside the isolated objections of the Polish government.

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.

The government in Warsaw argued that the decision should be delayed because of its displeasure with Tusk, a bitter political rival.

Mr Tusk was Polish prime minister in 2007-2014.

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Szydlo noted the broad support that Tusk enjoys from European Union leaders, writing that, "The pronounced support of such actions (the stand-off) on behalf of an EC president was unheard of".

Diplomats said that Tusk's reappointment would not be prevented even if Warsaw blocked the summit conclusions. And Tusk, who openly said he considered U.S. President Donald Trump a threat, will continue to lead the Council for the next two and a half years.

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

Besides, the president of the European Central Bank is also invited to share with national leaders his observations on the EU and euro area economies. "I don't see how one country could oppose this solution when all the others are in favour", said Hollande as he arrived for the summit, quoted in the Associated Press.

The dispute could have major implications for Mrs May, who needs to forge alliances with European leaders in her negotiations for a Brexit deal after she triggers Article 50 this month.

You can't say Poland didn't try.

  • Douglas Reid