donald-tuskPolish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has been named the next President of the European Council. Over the weekend, EU heads of state and government chose Mr Tusk to replace former Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy in the role.

As European Council President, Tusk’s job will involve forging agreement between EU leaders over the political direction and priorities of the EU, as well as representing (along with the EU’s new High Representative, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini) the European Union on the world stage.

Unlike most EU countries, Poland under Tusk has navigated the economic crisis relatively unscathed; Poland was the only EU economy to post sustained growth while most others went into recession.

Upon taking office, one of his most pressing challenges will be finding consensus on an appropriate EU response to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Some countries, including Poland and the Baltic states, have been pushing for a tougher response, whilst others, including Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria, are reluctant to target Russia with further sanctions that could also hurt European economies.

Tusk has also said one of his priorities will be keeping the UK in the European Union, and he is seen as a potential ally of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has pledged to try and renegotiate his country’s membership terms.

Is Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk the right person to replace Herman Van Rompuy? As an Eastern European leader, will he be able to forge a consensus over the EU’s response to Russia? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów

92 comments Post a commentcomment

    • avatar

      that’s correct men – his a very lazy, greedy creature – caused poverty in poland – because of him more then 3 mln of people ran away from there – his like a puppet where master is angela merkel sad bud true

  1. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    Hes facilitated the war in Ukraine, youd think after what Poland suffered in WW2 he would be a staunch opponent and vocal opposition to the war, nothing but silence.

    • avatar

      Poles always said they hated having to do what Moscow wanted, but now they seem to love being the USA’s loyal lapdog.

      Bush wanted to torture some folks (Obama’s wording) and Poland said: sure we’ll help.

  2. avatar
    Franck Legon

    je soumets humblement votre expertise les pistes suivantes pour une sortie de crise politique en Ukraine : tant constate l’urgence et l’importance du rtablissement des relations commerciale euro-russes et l’urgence humanitaire rsultant des combats en Ukraine, et dans l’optique d’un futur apais, proposer l’autodtermination des peuples d’Ukraine suite la rvolution qui y a eu lieu et, dire qu’ au terme d’une campagne politique durant laquelle les campagnes militaires seront interdites sur le sol ukrainien avec prsence de troupe des nations unies, chacun dterminera son appartenance par la consultation pour aller vers une carte de l’Europe stable et reconnue par tous, une zone frontire fluide entre les 2 grands ensemble que sont l’UE et la fdration de Russie, libre des causes de tension ou de blocage pour les temps venir . le refus ventuel d’un tel plan de paix par l’une des parties en prsence en runion du conseil de scurit de l’ONU avec les ukrainiens de l’ouest et de l’est et les pays de la zone concerne aurait l’avantage de mettre clairement en lumire la volont des uns et des autres respecter les droits des peuples et les conventions internationales, ou se montrer clairement comme un agresseur militaire, avec les consquences qui en dcouleraient . n’oublions pas que du nord-est de l’Ukraine Moscou il y a moins loin que de Toulon Paris, et que s’il existe des problmes actuellement, les hommes passent, mais les peuples et les territoires restent, et que la sant future des conomies de la rgion passe par une entente suffisante pour permettre la mise en place d’infrastructures continentales prennes en association, alors qu’une situation dbouchant sur un nouveau blocage de type guerre froide serait nfaste aussi bien l’Ukraine, qu’aux deux grands ensembles et l’conomie comme l’cologie mondiale .

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      @Debating Europe

      Could you please consider amending your (English) language rule, allowing all EU languages- by adding of an instant electronic “language translator” ? (e.g: one could highlight that portion of text wishing to have translated into ones chosen language- which than shows up translated in a connected window)

      That could promote a wider participation of many more commentators- in a spirit of a more considerate EU and the accommodation of minorities.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Franck Legon
      Thank you Franck for your frank and very polite exposition.

      However, I personally believe that trade is NOT ‘the be all and end all’ AND at some point a people/country/bloc must not only ‘talk the talk’ BUT too ‘walk the walk’.

      I’m not talking about violence/war BUT financial sanctions, sporting sanctions, cultural sanctions, travel sanctions etc against RUSSIA – might I refer you to Edmund Burke’s famous quote regarding appeasement.

      To that end Tusk might actually be a good choice.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @EU Reform- Proactive
      Hmmm, the Google translator [French-English] is very poor, have you any alternative suggestions please?

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive


      This plea was actually directed to the “technical professionals from the service provider of the DE”- who should be able to improve features on such platforms! Honestly, I am happy to just keep up with Dick, Tom & Harry in IT usage- having evolved & survived logarithms, the slide rule, the mechanical calculators & now Bill Gates new electronic age! I can visualize- but would need to delegate the footwork- or is it brain work?

  3. avatar
    Andries Vienne

    I’m hopeful about Tusk. I hope he takes a stronger stand against Russia and will support fasttracking Ukraine’s NATO-membership. It’s also a good chance for the politically eurosceptic East to show leadership and (hopefully) a more federalist side.

    • avatar

      Totally against any federalism, and even more opposed to Ukraine in NATO (NATO should be disbanded).

      We need to revert the EU back to the EEC. No more political integration.

  4. avatar
    Martin Geldner

    Oh, poor Italy. Looks like the Poles voted smarter and negotiated their interests smarter than Italy during the past years. I wonder why that is. How such a great and important country like Italy with a much better starting position and longer experience in/with Europe than Poland developped the way it has.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Martin Geldner
      Backroom negotiations do NOT an EU democracy make.

      Much as I like Poland [and I do, what’s not to like – its suffered many times over many years and yet still the Polish vim and vigour (UNLIKE certain EU basket case countries) rises to the fore] I am concerned that Tusk is merely a pawn [prawn perhaps?] of Dr Merkel.

      Only time will tell…

  5. avatar
    Suncica Cvitkovic Anderson

    I would like to keep the consensus REALISTIC, because some Europeans still romanticize communism! And he is lefty, so don’t worry he’ll bent over to sign something with russies!

    • avatar

      Left =/= “communism”.
      And what Russia offered the eastern bloc back in the day wasn’t communism in any case.

  6. avatar

    Poland has already shown high intolerance to Russia’s transgressions. I doubt a “reconciliation” is on this man’s agenda if he follows his nation’s trend.

    Austria and Hungary are both having secret talks of cooperation with Russia and Viktor Orban ( hungary’s PM ) has already signed a deal to build several nuclear reactors with russian money.

    Russia is slowly infiltrating into the EU.
    It’s easy to propose we sit idle when you are in the western corner of Europe, but here in the East, there’s another story, especially since we know Russia can never be trusted.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      It least some keep a cool head: including Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria. All are reportedly reluctant to target Russia with further sanctions that could also hurt their & European interest. Some forgotten connections with the ex Austro-Hungarian empire? No worries- these counties have a vivid knowledge of their past!

    • avatar

      Interesting you mentioned the connections with their lost empires.
      All these countries are still bitter about the fact they lost territories.
      Their new ‘friendship’ with Russia may have ulterior motives than jsut goodwill.

      And all the countries AROUND them are getting nervous. And for good reason.

      Hungary especially is becoming more aggressive in its revisionist demands.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive


      “All these countries are still bitter………?” How would you know, justify and rate your bit of bitterness compared to those who really could be bitter?

      Total WWII casualties: Allies: Over 60 million dead. Axis: Over 12 million dead
      The biggest human losses: USSR: 42,000,000, Germany: 9,000,000, China: 4,000,000, Japan: 3,000,000

      Your “loss” may only qualify as a mild bout of annoyance in comparison!

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      Sorry old chap BUT your post was a tad meandering – are you pro-Tusk or indeed ‘toothless’?

    • avatar

      Hey, i remember you !
      You’ re the guy who keeps spamming the EU facebook page.

    • avatar

      Polish “extremism” , care to explain what this ‘extremism” is plz?

    • avatar
      Bert van Santen

      No tjust the Polish politicians, EVERY politician acting on behave of the EU can be held responsable for the current mess!
      For example: can anyone explain to me, who has requested Van Baalen and Verhofstadt to interfear in Kiev???
      Kiev is in the Ukrain, since when is the Ukrain part of the EU?

  7. avatar
    Peter Cartwright

    No one will be able to get a consensus in response to Russia because the EU have made a terrible mistake with the agreement with the Ukraine. The EU has really lost it’s way! Instead of being a facilitator for peace and prosperity, it has become a facilitator for aggression along with NATO and austerity. I don’t think Tusk’s appointment will do anything to stop the EU being a puppet to Washington – shame!!!!

  8. avatar
    Josephine Cassar

    It is not Tusk that is the problem but the new Foreign Minister-Italy has interests in Russia as dependent on Russian gaz, will she put aside her country’s interests and act independently & in favour of Ukraine?

  9. avatar
    Damian Wasilewski

    I hope that Ukraine will not be the problem number 1. Will see if Polish President of the European Council Donald Tusk will try to use his influence to change DRAMATIC sytuation of LGBT people in Poland. This is a really big shame for that country and all over the Europe

  10. avatar
    Manuela Mcmoura

    NO…Tusk is just a backward conservative Roman Catholic pushjing for certain group interests…He will take the EU back make it retro again…and of course obey his Master’s voice…BAD, bad choice…

  11. avatar
    Zuzanna Janiszewska

    @Manuela Mcmoura he obviously is not catholic conservative, you actually mistook people. He is centro right who does not push catholic views, he actually tries to separate church from the country. he is a very good choice as he is a wise person that the europe now needs.

    • avatar

      He’s a neo conservative warmonger who takes orders from Washington. Much like Polish leaders from the 70s and 80s except they didn’t take orders from Washington but from Moscow.

      Poles have no sense of independence they seem to have some kind of inherit need to take orders from someone. After they were ‘free’ from Moscow they, all of their own initiative, submitted themselves to whatever the US president wanted.

      Bush said ‘I want to torture some people’ and Polish leaders said ‘sure we will help you do it, please pet us on the head mr Bush’.

  12. avatar
    Amadeu Cardoso de Sousa

    Recent events are remarkably parallel to those which happened in the period just before WW2 in Europe. In that case the appeasers failed to appease the aggressor. Today appeasement seems to be just as weak, as Russia continues to test the resolve of the EU. It is still not too late to take a strong stand against Russia’s recent aggression. The EU (and the US) should respond strongly swiftly and with resolve to the actions of the aggressor and ignore the disinformation which has come from the Russian government. Their actions have truly spoken much louder than the words which they have said forthwith, and so must be dealt with accordingly before Russian aggression becomes too bold, upon which our alternatives shall be very limited indeed! It is time that the EU show a unified, strong response to Russian aggression and expansionist ambitions…

    • avatar

      The agressors being the western world hell-bent on gaining control of Ukraine’s natural resources (now already being sold to western corporation for dimes on the dollar (or cents on the euro if you prefer).

      Yatseniuk and Poroshenko or whatever their names are and their government now effectively already selling his country out for cheap. Follow the oil and gas and all that.

    • avatar

      Putin = Hitler
      EU =- chamberlain
      Indeed history repeats itself so obvious to the trained eye…or to the well read. And yet here we are ‘debating” whether we should even consider putting our foot in the door as a block.
      Our own members states are colluding with an enemy that promises them old 19th century territorial revisionism.

      Yeah…i’d say the days of 1938 are quite “vivid” today.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      It’s understandable! If one has been knocked for nearly 50 years with an USSR HAMMER and ones personal freedom SICKLE ‘D away- it has to affect ones outlook! Why not try a ‘reconciliation- drink- dinner’ on a visit to the US- at:

    • avatar
      Amadeu Cardoso de Sousa

      I see, the “Poor Russians” are there to defend the interests of the Ukraine from the greedy, capitalist “Evil West”, and the EU is no doubt a puppet of the US… and Viktor Yanukovych was an honest and “standup” guy; the great defender of the Ukrainian people. Tusk is a Pole, and no doubt he would have something to say about Russian diplomacy. I wonder if recent history is on his mind such as the Non-Agression Pact between Stalin and Hitler, or the Katyn Forest (ever heard of the Katyn Forest and what happened there?), existing under the Soviet heel for the better part of 50 years… Who better to see through and respond to the Russians than a Pole? Yes, the “Poor Russians”… There is always going to be disinformation coming from both sides but come on, try to be more discerning in your assessment of the present situation…

  13. avatar
    Dimitris Paschalidis-Valof

    we need a more moderate approach and Tusk is not the right person for the job. I don’t know what the process for his election is but im guessing if there was a general ballot he would’ve been ruled out.

  14. avatar
    Gregorio Boretti

    No. He is a conservative full of anti-Russian prejudices. With him, the EU will keep on being a satellite of the USA and this winter we may die for cold

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      @Debating Europe

      please consider an electronic translator!

  15. avatar

    No, he’s a neocon warmonger without an opinion of his own, he just takes orders from Washington.

    Next question.

  16. avatar
    Richard Osborne

    I have high hopes for tusk. He’s well aware that every e.u member state has interests or dealings with Russia and will use that as leverage. He’ll take a strong stand point and negotiate hard because he understands eastern European culture/mentality. Right now, I believe he’s a far better choice than anyone from western Europe.

  17. avatar

    What did Tusk now of the secret renditioning/torture sites that Poland helped the CIA with?

  18. avatar
    Richard Osborne

    I think he’s a brilliant choice. Yes, I agree he’s hard and not big on the ‘warm and fuzziness’ but he’s a true leader and has the balls enough to make the hard call when it’s needed. Probably the only e.u or NATO leader that Putin would respect.

  19. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    Is Poland’s Donald Tusk the leader that Europe needs?

    What concerns me is that most DE questions are insinuating the acceptance of the EU status quo: staunch patriotic pro EU (= reckless enlargement) in modern internet slang, IOW: a one party state/stance/ policy! Ideally suited for the many un-consoled & revenge seeking former COMECON victims- succumbed & used to brainwashing- now the most loyal EU gladiators.

    “Appeasement”?- no- that’s history! It needs & has been replaced by strong, transparent partnerships- not coerciveness, intrigues, bullying, secrecy & more brainwashing!
    Is it comparable to the huge mistrust and animosity leveled against Germany- starting 65 years ago- but ended amicable? Yes, forgive but don’t forget- adapt, change, move on!

    The vestige of the eighteenth century presented a different playing field. Today it violates the principle of one person, one vote. The time has come to revisit & change the EU structure- or lose it all.

    Some overview where “direct democracy” is somehow practiced world wide: (Beware: I noticed this list does not distinguish where the majority party can ‘appoint’ the president- but is listed as ‘direct’!

    The above reference: “It was AGREED to APPOINT & NAMED Polish PM Donald Tusk” with eastern European expertise- is exactly what the US/EU corporate doctors prescribe. It requires medicine like: Russian ‘unfriendliness & mistrust’- to facilitate more US ICBM’s in EU’s Poland, more east & further east- “the new EU- promised land- carry on regardless”

    A diplomatic trip to Moscow to facilitate dialogue is seen as controversial but not to Kiev. What great diplomatic foresight, strength, balance & neutrality is emanating from Brussels political reactor!

  20. avatar
    Peter Castermans

    I find it a bit absurd to choose someone who can barely speak English. That puts Europe in a weak position in international negotiations. But i’m prepared to give Tusk a chance.
    My biggest concern for the moment is the economical selfdestruction for a problem that isn’t ours (Ukraine).
    Something I hope is that Scotland chooses for independence. Scotland is pro-European. They can replace the anti-European UK

    • avatar

      Let’s get the terminology right, shall we:

      Pro-Europe = anti-EU = pro-democracy = anti appointments behind closed doors = anti-doing-whatever-the-USA-says

      Anti-Europe = pro-EU = anti-democracy = pro appointments behind close doors = pro-doing-whatever-the-USA-says

      Remember, the European federalist movement was an American idea, subsidized by the US state department. The European federalist movement, consisting of quislings who for decades worked to undermine their country’s sovereignty and democracy.

      And the Euro was a creation of US banks, who wanted a one stop shop for bailouts, being able to appoint the ECB leader themselves. Point in case the appointment of Draghi, a Goldman Sachs criminal sent to enrich bankers at our expense.

  21. avatar
    Yolanda Loureiro

    don’t make me laugh ahahahahahahhahahahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  22. avatar
    Jorge Qoqe

    An Eastern European leader? Beautiful words but, in fact, its just an neoliberal politician controlled by Germany… What’s new??

  23. avatar

    Is quite early to ask. It’s all depends on the degree of liberty form Merkel’s tentacles. It might be providential or another great disappointment. Time will tell. I don’t really care about his nationality, religion or political views. I care about a problem solver and identifying common goals and achieve them leader like.

  24. avatar
    David Fernandes Coelho

    What the Eu needs is someone who can realy create a union of state be that for good or bad otherwise Russia or any other power will take over any eu or neibouring state over when it feels it is the time to do so.

  25. avatar

    ”Is Poland’s Donald Tusk the leader that Europe needs?”
    I am a Swiss Citizen, Switzerland is a country on the European continent, we are not a EU Member and dont wish to be, Donald Tusk is maybe the leader of the EU but he certainly is not the leader of Switzerland and other European countries that are not part of the EU, stop equating EU with Europe, Europe is much more than the EU.
    Greetings from Zürich.

    • avatar
      catherine benning


      It is enormously satisfying to read a voice of sanity on here. So much of it is extreme and uninformed. You are right, the EU is going to end up as a union of the old soviet block, within Europe. With all the problems and instability that will produce, whilst top contributing countries will depart in their droves. Juncker is totally the wrong man for the position they just worked him into and this Pole is no better.

      Tusk, is simply another US air base lover. The Polish leaders have always wanted to feel they had the upper hand with Russia, hence the idiotic idea these nuclear activities, along with the money they think it will earn from it, has made them the choice for this senior EU post. The UK of course, happy little warring poodles feeling they finally have a champion on their side.

      What no one is willing to see, or, more importantly, address, is the undoubted fact that the EU has simply become an American central theatre for that countries so called controlled ‘battles’ around the world. It frees their country up from possible destruction and gets rid of those they cannot abide or they see as a block to their take over of the planet, named, Globalisation.

      You are very fortunate to be a citizen of a neutral country who does not involve itself in such manipulative and dangerous games. These links will confirm your good luck.

      And the history of this lunacy up to this day.

    • avatar

      We all know that Switzerland is not EU member nor that are high hopes and expectations form “protecting swiss way of life referendum” like country, but may I ask you what’s your business here ?

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive


      It’s not my business- but the rules are set by DE & nobody else. DE restrictions are only be “decent & please comment in English”! So, let’s hear all of Europe & whoever wants to comment in English! Welcome to all!

    • avatar

      @ EU Reform- Proactive

      “500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

      Carol Reed’s 1949 classic The Third Man

    • avatar

      @Ironworker, what country are you from?
      How dare you talk about my country Switzerland in this demeaning way, your absurd comment disqualifies yourself, now you listen to me we created much more than Cuckoo clocks, the next time you get sick and your Doctor gives you medicine take a good look at the back of the Box because there is a big Chance its a Swiss Product! The next time you buy a car do some research about the suppliers of parts for your car because if youre driving audi etc. the chances are big that your headlights where made in Switzerland and not Deutschland, the next time you use Plastics never forget that Swiss companies are major players in this field as well, the next time you use something with chemicals in it or something for which chemicals where needed in the production process remember that the biggest supplier of chemicals in Europe is Switzerland, Cuckoo clocks my ass! And even if all we created had been Cuckoo clocks wed still be proud to be Swiss, we dont interfere in other peoples countries, we dont bomb anybody, we were not in ww1 we were not in ww2, while you French,Germans etc. tended to your blood lust we tried to live our lives in peace, and history seems to be repeating itself today,maybe you didnt realize it yet but you just got served.

    • avatar
      Bert van Santen

      hear hear! I wish the EU leaders had as much common sence as S.K.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Димитър Раданов
      I agree, Putin is a madman, the EU’s lebensraum attempt was doomed to fail AND as you quite rightly stated regarding Tusk – “Only time will tell”!

      All in all an astute but indecipherable contribution to the DE forum.

  26. avatar
    Gediminas Bau Glumanas

    He went to Poland government top after Kaczyinski and others Poland politics death on plane in Russia. Then was some “talks” with Putin. And now in the middle of Ukraine conflict he becomes EU leader in some way. I feel bad suspicion. :-/ Or… Plans in the plans as taught Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Dune writing. :-D Anyway: Let’s keep our empire (EU) strong and we’ll be safe in global content! (y)

    • avatar

      I wonder if the spice ( gas ) will flow…

  27. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    @Ironworker- Hi Sir,

    “500 years of democracy and peace…….? Where? What produces these cuckoo people? These Swiss clocks are smarter & nicer!

    We are lucky so far to count to ~70 since 1945! The EC/EU monster machine might spoil all that- by “agreeing” & “nominating” an “effected” hardliner from the east as a head. ‘Representative’ democracy” is being used- we are told!

    The word ‘Democracy’ is equally banded around- as an example- by North Korea & the US. It was also used in the past by the DDR! Confusing- different world orders?

    The most dramatic example of “direct democracy” occurred already in Athens 5th-century BC. (~2,500 years ago) The system of OSTRACISM was used than. Not bad- to rid Europe of powerful but unpopular figures! No charge to answer, and no redress- just go & disappear! The ancient people’s referendum- simple & effective!

    The SCHWYZ Landsgemeinde ~1294, was the closest example since Greece- in 1294. Later the “Polish sejm”: 1493-1505.

    As bigger the pool of people is, the lesser a direct democracy is possible and it than becomes a ‘representative democracy’ of our modern societies. What a mess it creates!

    What is the most basic human right? The right to life! To take life for any reason directly, is therefore a most grievous violation, an enormous evil, an outrageous crime against humanity, and radically anti-social! Ukraine is just one victim in the renewed east- west power struggle!

  28. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    @EU Reform- Proactive
    Interesting post and I especially agree with your observation that the larger the demos the lesser the democracy.

    PS: Ostracism – surely you’re not talking about Eastern Racism!? ;)

  29. avatar
    Daniela Marinescu

    You’re right, Gediminas Bau Glumanas! What happens these days seems like baron Harkonnen thinking or should I say Frank Herbert thinking? Let’s wait and see if your guess was accurate.

  30. avatar

    Appointed in true neo-Soviet style, by those who have no legitimacy to have done so in the first place, behind closed doors.

    No mandate, no authority. Do not legitimize this man.

    Worst of all, seems to be on the payroll of the USA war industry. A true neo-con.

  31. avatar

    Is he a loyal Russian agent?

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