The European Council on Thursday elected Donald Tusk into a second term as president despite oppositions from his country, Poland, where he was once the prime minister. Poland’s current Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said the country would exercise its right to veto – the only one of the 28 member states to do so. The Polish government has accused Tusk of interfering in its internal affairs and also maintains charges it had made against him while it was in the opposition.
Tusk will resume charge for another 30 months. He nodded to the controversy in his subsequent speech, saying, “Be careful of the bridges you burn, because once they are done, you can never cross them again.” The commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker said all the rules had been followed during the vote, and other EU leaders backed the move with enthusiasm.
Tusk, a leader of the Centre-right Civic Platform, was prime minister of Poland between 2007 and 2014. He faced severe flak from opposition parties after an air crash in Russia in 2010 killed the country’s President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others. The opposition criticised Tusk for letting Russia investigate the crash, and not doing enough. However, international law stipulates that the country in which a plane crashes must conduct the initial investigation. The accident was put down to dense fog.
The European Council decides on matters pertaining to all 28 states, including the Greek-zone crisis, mass migration, and Brexit. Tusk was credited with successfully concluding the migration deal with Turkey in 2016.