Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk becomes new European Council President


“Poland’s legacy and experience can become a very important source of energy, which the EU needs and is going to need in the future more than ever before,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk said after his choice as new President of the European Council. He will take up his position on 1 December.

“I come to Brussels from a country that deeply believes in the sense of a united Europe. Eighty percent of my country people have a deep faith that there is point to the European Union, and they look for no alternative,” he underscored. “Each day we must keep answering the question: given the confrontation in Ukraine, and the situation in Syria and Libya, who are we? How can we respond together to this challenge?” said the Prime Minister.

The new chief of the European Council is prime minister of a country that has weathered the global crisis the best in the entire EU. Poland was the only Community country not to slip into recession in 2008-11. She is generally held up as a model of economic success.

“We will help Ukraine, we will help our neighbours in the south only if we are able to form a common and unequivocal point of view. We must be at once courageous and responsible. Imagination and common sense have to go hand-in-hand, especially given the challenges that are so dramatic in the EU neighbourhood,” emphasized Prime Minister Tusk.

The nomination of Donald Tusk reflects Poland’s standing in Europe. European political leaders unanimously backed Tusk’s candidacy because they want a new, charismatic leadership in the European Council.

“My experience as the prime minister of the Polish government shows that reconciling two challenges – fiscal discipline and growth – is possible. Since I became Poland’s prime minister seven years ago, we’ve recorded a total growth of close on 20 percent, while keeping the financial discipline,” pointed out Prime Minister Tusk. He added that the Union will be looking for an effective way to make sure these two objectives support one another. “What I’m offering is good will, a bit of imagination, interesting Eastern European experience, and above all the faith that there is and will be point to Europe,” he stressed.

“The new EU leadership team is complete,” said Herman Van Rompuy, referring to the new head of the European Council and the new chief of EU diplomacy. He added that both have full support of the European Council. “Donald Tusk is a statesman for Europe,” he said. The outgoing European Council President also underscored that his successor will face big challenges.

“What we saw today is a huge success of the Polish charge,” said Poland’s President Bronisław Komorowski, commenting on the choice of Donald Tusk as European Council chief. “This not only means great recognition for Poland’s position, but also enhances Polish opportunities,” stressed the Polish leader. “The post of the Council President we’ve won on the international arena is not only prestigious but also very important, which not only means great recognition for Poland’s achievements and position in the European world, the Western world, but also enhances Polish opportunities,” noted Bronisław Komorowski.

The European Council meeting in Brussels also chose a new chief of EU diplomacy. This position will be filled by Federica Mogherini, the current foreign minister of Italy.

Donald Tusk – biographical note

He was born on 22 April 1957 in Gdańsk. He graduated in history from the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Gdańsk. He was one of the creators of the Students Solidarity Committee at that university.

He cooperated with Free Trade Unions of the Coast. He was also a co-founder of the Independent Students’ Association in Gdańsk, head of “Solidarity” at the Wydawnictwo Morskie publishing house and a journalist of the “Samorządność” weekly published by the trade union. For seven years, he earned his living as a manual labourer in the “Świetlik” co-operative.

In the 1997 elections, he became a Senator running on behalf of the Freedom Union (UW). He became a Deputy Marshal of the Senate of the 4th term. He was also a Deputy Marshal of the Sejm of the 4th term in the years 2001-2005. Deputy to the Sejm of 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th term. Since April 2003, he has been the chairman of the Civic Platform party.

Married. He has two children: daughter Katarzyna and son Michał.

Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago

Photo by: W. Dabkowski.PAP