Published: Fri, March 10, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

EU leaders reappoint Donald Tusk as European Council president

Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel confirmed Mr Tusk's success.

Tusk is a former prime minister who has a long and bitter rivalry with the leader of Poland's current governing party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Donald Tusk, the former Polish premier re-elected as the chairman of European Union summits on Thursday, pledged to work with the Warsaw government that tried to prevent him from securing a second term and ensure Poland was not left isolated in the EU.

The Polish government, headed by the conservative Law and Justice Party, has instead nominated European Parliament member Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, who was kicked out from Tusk's Civic Platform party this week for accepting the offer to challenge Tusk. Szydlo went so far as to say Tusk could not be voted in without Polish support.

Tusk has been at odds with Law and Justice for years, especially its chief, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who accuses him of "moral responsibility" for his twin brother and then-president Lech Kaczynski's death in a 2010 plane crash in Russian Federation.

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The EU leaders will also discuss economy, defence, and unrest in the Balkans on the first day of the summit Thursday, and then on Friday, without Britain's Theresa May, they will look at preparations for the Rome summit. It is one of the bloc's most prestigious jobs, and involves chairing summits and coordinating the work of the member countries and make sure the 28 nations speak as much as possible with one voice on the global stage. A senior German official said that Chancellor Angela Merkel "appreciates the work" of Tusk and that he assumes he will be re-elected Thursday with "overwhelming support".

Known for anti-German rhetoric, Jaroslaw Kaczynski also said that "Germany is too weak a state to play the role of European Union leader". Manfred Weber, leader of the EPP, said: "Tusk is the only EPP candidate for President of European Council".

"There is no need for hurry, no need to make the decision today", Waszczykowski said on Poland's TVN24 television.

Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat chaired the session to decide Mr Tusk's mandate.

Diplomats said that Tusk's reappointment would not be prevented even if Warsaw blocked the summit conclusions.

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