The European People’s Party Congress saw Donald Tusk take over the party’s presidency as the sole candidate. “Tusk is the face of a modern Poland. A true Christian Democrat, he stands for a democratic Europe that is united from North to South and East to West”, said Manfred Weber, the Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.
Tusk has a strong political background in Poland. He was twice-elected as prime minister and served in the post from 2007-2014, the longest tenure since the return of democracy to Poland 30 years ago. He most recently served as the President of the European Council, which began in 2014.
His duties as President of EPP will begin on December 1.
The EPP congress in Zagreb gathered more than 2000 delegates from more than 40 countries, turned into an opportunity to send a message of unity and strength. It also came in the right moment for Croatia, ahead of the country’s six-month EU Council Presidency, that it seized from the Brexiting UK.
The EPP’s new structure consists of ten Vice-Presidents: Mariya Gabriel, from Bulgaria’s GERB, David McAllister, Germany’s CDU, Helen McEntee, from Fine Gael, Ireland, Johannes Hahn, Austrian People’s Party, Esther De Lange, the Dutch Christian Democrat, Antonio Tajani from Forza Italia, Siegfried Mureșan, Romania’s PNL governing party, the French Republican Franck Proust, Paulo Rangel, PSD, Portugal and Petteri Orpo, from KOK, Finland. Antonio López-Istúriz was re-elected Secretary-General.
Tusk will have to assist EPP return to a positive trajectory, as the group lost a significant amount of its parliamentary seats after May’s EU elections, with the far-right, Liberals and Greens making gains. The new EPP President pledged to fight against political populists, manipulators and autocrats. “We will not sacrifice values like civil liberties, the rule of law, and decency in public life on the altar of security and order”, said Tusk, adding that whoever is unable to accept that would be outside the EPP family.