EU member states are expected to decide on a second term for Donald Tusk’s Presidency of the European Council on Thursday.
As the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, is expected to facilitate the negotiation at the EU summit. However, despite fierce Polish opposition to Tusk’s second term, there won’t be much of a negotiation.
Virtually guaranteed election
Donald Tusk’s mandate as President of the European council expires on May 31st. He is running for a second with the apparent support of most EU governments, except Poland. If his mandate is renewed he will serve until November 2019.
The decision on whether or not to extend Tusk’s mandate is made with a simple majority and most analysts agree that there are more than enough votes in the Council to ensure he will get another term.
The only country opposing his candidacy is Poland that has proposed another candidate, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski. The Maltese Presidency made clear on Wednesday that Saryusz-Wolski is not invited to attend the EU summit on Thursday.
Saryusz-Wolski is a Polish Civic Platform opposition Member of the European Parliament and, until recently, a member of the European People’s Party.
.@EPPGroup's deciding bodies will deliberate this week. If Mr Saryusz-Wolski should maintain his candidacy, he will be excluded 3/3
— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) March 5, 2017
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the spokesman for the Maltese Presidency said that EU leaders are not unanimous in extending an invitation to Poland’s favourite for the post. In fact, some leaders oppose his presence, Reuters reports.
From Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel affirmed on Wednesday her view that the second term for Tusk would be “good for Europe.”
Poland’s vehement opposition
For Poland, the main advantage of Saryusz-Wolski is that he is not Donald Tusk.
In a letter to EU heads of state published by Radio Poland on Wednesday, Prime Minister of Beata Szydło made the case against Donald Tusk. According to Szydło, Donald Tusk has overstepped his mandate to intervene in “national disputes,” without showing the required “neutrality and impartiality.”
The Polish Prime Minister was referring to a number of incidents in which the former Prime Minister voiced his criticism against the Law and Justice (PiS) Eurosceptic government, including a standoff with the press. Szydlo warned that Tusk would undermine what she described as the “fragile unity” of the bloc.