Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Poland to block European Union summit statement after Tusk re-election

Jacek Saryusz Wolski during the plenary session at the EU Parliament in Brussels | Stephanie Lecocq  EPA Jacek Saryusz Wolski during the plenary session at the EU Parliament in Brussels | Stephanie Lecocq EPA
Garry Little | 10 March, 2017, 00:26

The president chairs summits of the 28-nation bloc's leaders.

Prime Minister Theresa May found herself caught up in the row just days before she is expected to trigger Article 50.

The row has soured the atmosphere, just as the European Union prepares to mark 60 years since its founding Treaty of Rome was signed.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said with a typical jibe that "hopefully this is a language the Polish government can understand". "I can only state that I will continue to work for a better and more united Europe with all member states, without exception".

The White Paper has met with mixed reflections, as some political leaders criticized it for not picking a clear preferred path or providing concrete examples.

British MEP Syed Kamall, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament, said "Recent referendum results in the UK, Netherlands, Italy, Hungary and Denmark have shown a loss of faith in the EU".

Ominously, Ms Szydlo also warned the European Union that "there is no place for a multi-speed Europe" - contradicting what the leaders of France, Germany and Italy said in Versailles this week.

Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczinski said in 2012 he held Tusk "politically" accountable for the death of his twin brother, then Poland's president Lech Kaczynski, who was killed along with other 95 people in a plane crash in Russian Federation in 2010.

"We should have the courage to allow some countries to move ahead, to advance more quickly than others".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said his reelection would be a "sign of stability" for the bloc.

The 28 EU leaders are due to decide during the opening session of their summit in Brussels who will be president of the EU Council for the next two and a half years.

Mr Tusk was Polish prime minister in 2007-2014.

Szydlo made the comments after Donald Tusk, her compatriot but political foe, was given a second term to chair the European Union summits by all the other 27 European Union states despite Poland's objections.

Ahead of the meeting, a bitter war of words has broken out on the appointment of the council president for the period from June 1, 2017 to November 30, 2019.

Poland's nationalist government, which has often been at odds with Brussels and EU partners, has proposed little-known Polish EU lawmaker Jacek Saryusz-Wolski to replace Tusk.

Poland's PiS government accuses the liberal Tusk of having "brutally violated" the rule of "political neutrality" by becoming involved in domestic political disputes.

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