Donald Tusk gets 2nd term as president of European Council
Donald Tusk was appointed on Thursday to a second term as president of the European Council, one of the European Union’s governing bodies, despite objections fr
Poland was overruled by leaders of the 27 other European Union member countries as they gathered for their spring summit meeting. It was the first time such a decision was made without unanimity since the job was created in 2009.
The council sets the leaders’ agenda, and Mr. Tusk will be expected to forge compromise among its fractious membership during a two-and-a-half-year term, during which the countries will debate, and possibly decide, whether the European Union even survives in its current form.
Mr. Tusk, 59, was a driving force in last year’s deal with Turkey to address the migration crisis, and he has coordinated the European Union’s response to Britain’s plan to withdraw.
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“He’s decent, he’s effective, he’s a very good president,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands told reporters on Thursday.
On Twitter, Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, congratulated Mr. Tusk, and Mr. Tusk thanked his supporters, writing, “It helped!”
The right-wing government that took power in Poland in 2015 wanted him out of the job, and it had even suggested — without evidence — that he betrayed his country.
Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania’s president, told reporters on Thursday that European Union leaders should not be “hostages of national politics inside Poland.”
There had been speculation that Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, also a right-winger, could support Beata Szydlo, the Polish prime minister. That hope fell away on Thursday when Mr. Orban, arriving at the summit meeting, indicated he would not oppose the choice of Mr. Tusk.
The leaders seemed keen to get down to discussions to give an impression of continuity and stability ahead of elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands where anti-European populists have been doing well in the polls.
The meeting also was the first time the leaders gathered inside an orblike structure at the heart of their new headquarters, called Europa, which is expected to cost more than 320 million euros, or about $339 million, when the bill is settled.