European Interest

EU’s Tusk alarmed over ‘Kremlin’s plan’

Archiwum Kancelarii Prezydenta RP
Lech Kaczyński & Donald Tusk. Donald Tusk's appointment as the Prime Minister of Poland, 9 November 2007.

European Council President Donald Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland, has described his homeland’s policies as “Kremlin’s plan”.

On November 19, he posted on Twitter: “Alarm! A vehement dispute with Ukraine, isolation in the European Union, departure from the rule of law and independent courts, attack on non-governmental sector and free media – PiS strategy or Kremlin’s plan? Too similar to rest easy.”

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Tusk was referring to the fact that Ukraine summoned the Polish ambassador in Kiev on November 18 after Poland denied entry to a Ukrainian official in an escalation of a diplomatic spat over the two neighbours’ troubled past.

Tusk did not provide details of what he described as the “Kremlin’s plan”.

In a response to Tusk’s comment, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo tweeted: “@donaldtusk as @eucopresident has done nothing for Poland. Today, using his position to attack” the Polish government, he is attacking Poland.”

In related news, Bloomberg noted that Tusk’s tweet is the latest salvo in a war of words between Poland and the EU, as fears mount in Brussels that Warsaw’s government is shifting toward authoritarian rule. It also adds to speculation that Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, plans a comeback to domestic politics when his term as chairman of EU leaders’ meetings expires in 2019 – the same year that current parliament and government’s term ends in Poland.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has tasked one of its committees with laying the groundwork for a vote on whether to ask national governments to trigger Article 7 of the EU treaty against Poland that foresees the possibility of stripping a member country of its voting rights.

Poland poses “a clear risk of a serious breach” of EU values, the 28-nation assembly said in a resolution approved after a heated debate in Strasbourg, France.

“As EU Council President, Donald Tusk has done nothing for Poland,” Szydlo said on November 19. “Today, he’s using his position to attack the Polish government and Poland.”

French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Szydlo on November 23, according to his agenda. Macron and Szydlo will speak to the press after the meeting.

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