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Donald Tusk re-elected as European council president

Donald Tusk re-elected as European council president

With solid support from EU nations for a second term as president of the European Council, Donald Tusk has shrugged off criticism from the Polish government.

Tusk was last elected European Council president unanimously on August 30, 2014, after serving for seven years as prime minister of his homeland. But the other 27 leaders wasted no time in moving to a vote in which she was the lone objector.

Tusk is expected to be backed by an overwhelming majority of leaders.

The rare veto comes after Poland's rightwing government accused its European Union counterparts of riding roughshod over its opposition to renewing Tusk's mandate.

Tusk had left the room during the discussion and was greeted with applause as he returned to the chamber.

The Pole, whose initial term expires at the end of May, will play a key role in the Brexit negotiations and will now stay in the job until November 2019.

In a tweet following the vote on Thursday, Tusk wrote: "Grateful for trust & positive assessment by [the European Council]".

Szydlo frowned as she listened.




Reflecting widespread exasperation among other leaders at the Polish government's tactics in trying to block Tusk's reappointment, that remark prompted European Union chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker to say from the podium: "Hopefully this is a language the Polish government will understand". As leader of centre-right Civic Platform, his chief rival then was the nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS), which is now in power.

Talk of a "multi-speed" Europe has intensified in recent months.

EU powerhouses France and Germany on Monday endorsed the idea of a "multi-speed" EU in which some members could deepen their integration faster than others, a move that Poland and other eastern EU countries staunchly oppose.

Kaczynski has also accused Tusk of "moral responsibility" for the death of his brother Lech, then president, in an air crash in Russian Federation in 2010.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo had instead asked for all to support Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, a member of the European Parliament.

"The pronounced support of such actions (the stand-off) on behalf of an EC president was unheard of", Szydlo said in her letter.

The five possible paths for the EU without Britain outlined by the European Commission range from shrinking the scope of areas of cooperation among member states or maintaining the status quo to a more ambitious scenario of taking steps towards a federalist EU.

The declaration adopted at last month's informal summit in Malta focused on measures to stem the flow of migration from Libya to Italy. Arrival figures are already higher this year than in 2016.

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