Poland puts forward counter-candidate to EU's Tusk
March 6, 2017
Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said the Polish government had put forward Polish member of the European Parliament, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski as its candidate to replace European Council president, Donald Tusk , just a week before member states are set to vote on his re-election.
"I have just sent a diplomatic note to propose the candidacy of Jacek Saryusz-Wolski for the presidency of the European Council," Waszczykowski said.
Saryusz-Wolski, an MEP since 2004, is a member of the European People's Party (EPP), gathering Christian Democrat and centre-right parties.
On Saturday the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party officially said they would strongly oppose the re-appointment of Donald Tusk as the head of the European Council.
Last week PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said that Tusk couldn’t count on the support of the Polish government in his bid for EU leader as he breaks the fundamental rules of the European Union, the “principles of neutrality” as regards the internal affairs of EU countries.
Kaczynski also said that Tusk openly supports the opposition, which doesn’t hide it would like to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means”.
"I can't imagine that the other EU member states would support a candidate who doesn't have the support of his own government," Waszczykowski said Saturday.
Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, co-founded the Civic Platform (PO) party which is now the biggest opposition grouping in the country's parliament.
Saryusz-Wolski was a member of PO until he was expelled from its ranks just after his candidature was announced.
The European Council is meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss whether to give Tusk a second term after his first mandate expires on May 31. Tusk, who seems to have support among a majority of European leaders, doesn’t need Poland’s backing to run for a second term.
Meanwhile, 54% of Poles would support the candidacy of Tusk for another term of office, shows a survey conducted by researcher IBRiS for the daily Rzeczpospolita. Only 27% would support Saryusz-Wolski.