Donald Tusk confirmed as European Council president for another term

Posted March 10, 2017

EU leaders have confirmed Donald Tusk for another term as European Council president - despite attempts by his native Poland to block his candidacy.

Tusk, Poland's former prime minister and a bitter foe of the country's most powerful politician, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has a term that expires in May.

But Germany said on the eve of the summit there was "overwhelming support" for Tusk, while European diplomats accused the Polish government of "wanting to export an internal problem".

The row with Poland has highlighted a deepening split between eastern members reluctant to cede new-found national freedoms to Brussels and the richer western states that want to deepen European Union integration in the hope it can boost prosperity and security and thus stem the rise of Brexit-inspired eurosceptics.

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Poland's right-wing prime minister, Beata Szydlo, had written to Theresa May and other European leaders, urging them to oust Mr Tusk during the vote - which came on the first day of an EU leaders' summit in Brussels.

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

"We knew this would happen", Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told reporters.

The newly re-elected Tusk said he was "grateful for the trust the European Council has placed in me, but now is not the time for self-congratulations".

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European Commission's Future of Europe White Paper, unveiled last week by its President Jean-Claude Juncker, will be debated as national leaders need to find a common position for the future direction of the European project ahead of the Rome summit.

Bulgaria will be represented at the council by President Rumen Radev. "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.

Leaders are also expected to give the green light to the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, another move condemned by eurosceptics like Wilders.

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