Tusk starts talks with EU officials on funds while Poland waits for new PM

Manfred Weber @ManfredWeber
Donald Tusk with EPP Group President Manfred Weber at the EPP Summit in brussels.

The new Polish parliament will convene for its first sitting on Nov 13, the earliest possible date according to Polish President Andrzej Duda, who is yet to name a possible prime minister to form a government. Meanwhile, opposition leader and prime minister candidate Donald Tusk visited Brussels in order to present possible solutions in a spat between the European Union and Poland over EU funds.

President Duda held consultations with all parties’ leaders before announcing a first possible prime minister.

Following election on Oct 15, ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) received the most votes. However, it fell short of the necessary majority to govern alone in the Sejm, Poland’s lower house. Tusk’s Civic Coalition (KO) received 27.4% of votes, but are expected to be able to form a coalition government with parties Third Way and The Left, two parties who have already excluded a coalition with PiS.

Duda is being criticised for his decision to stall on the prime minister’s appointment, due to his association with PiS. He said that “this is a new situation… there has never been a situation where one party won, and the others claim that they will have the majority.”

After speaking with Duda, Tusk flew to Brussels to meet with EU officials, “as the leader of the opposition, not as the prime minister,” he specified in a news conference.

Tusk is trying to rekindle relationships between the bloc and Poland over EU recovery and cohesion funds. The EU blocked access to those funds, a staggering total of 111.9 billion euros – 35.4 billion from recovery fund and 76.5 billion euros from cohesion fund – due to concerns over Poland’s judicial independence.

The former president of the European Council recognised that his move is unorthodox but added that “I had to take this initiative before final decisions were made, because all methods, including non-standard ones, had to be used to save the money that Poland deserves.”

During the news conference, Tusk said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the possibility of forming a new government and becoming once again prime minister of the country. Tusk has been in the role for seven years between 2007 and 2014.

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