Poland Ever More Isolated: EU Keeping Donald Tusk, Defying Warsaw’s Pressure

Written by | Friday, March 10th, 2017

The European Union leaders reappointed former Polish President Donald Tusk as the President of the European Council despite the strong objections of Poland’s right-wing government. Poland’s current prime minister, Beata Szydlo, who is acting on behalf of her party boss Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has pledged to stop Donald Tusk’s reelection to secure his second term. However, the remaining 27 leaders overwhelmingly supported Mr. Tusk and made Poland the only country strongly opposed to his reappointment.

Warsaw depicted Mr. Tusk’s reelection as the issue of fundamental principle, in which essential national interests had been ignored by “a Brussels machine dominated by German diktat”. The crushing defeat thus demonstrates how isolated Poland has become, even within the Visegrad Group. Mr. Kaczynski said that the vote had confirmed that the EU is run by Germany and that it is trampling on national interests: “If the EU does not abandon this road, it will be consigned to history,” he said in Warsaw.

A few hours after the vote, Ms. Szydlo refused to sign off on the official record of summit “conclusion” – a summary of endorsements and exhortations on economic, foreign, and immigration policies. However, the routine roundup was signed by the other 27 states and EU leaders said that Poland’s rejection did not affect the outcome. Ms. Szydlo was also asked to explain and subsequently repeat the reasons for withholding the support. She said that Mr. Tusk had criticized her government’s policies – policies that many observers inside and outside the bloc see as a threat to democracy.

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