EU accused of picking favourites by inviting Donald Tusk to Brussels
Ursula von der Leyen’s European Commission is “picking favourites” by controversially inviting former European Council President, Poland’s Donald Tusk, to Berlaymont even though there is no guarantee he will be his country’s next Prime Minister, a Brussels-based expert has claimed.
Meanwhile former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib, has warned Ms von der Leyen she and her colleagues in the Commission are “in for a shock” – suggesting there was no guarantee of him falling into line once he “gets what he wants”.
Mr Tusk is widely seen as the front runner to be Poland’s next leader at the head of a coalition of moderate parties following last month’s general election – although Andrzej Duda, the country’s President, is giving his own Law and Justice Party a chance to form a government.
During his trip to the Belgian capital last week, during which he met Ms von der Leyen, Mr Tusk stressed he was not there in an official capacity.
Nevertheless, the move still raised eyebrows, with an analysis published in the Brussels Times arguing: “The optics of this are clear: the European Commission wants Tusk to be prime minister and unlocking Poland’s billions will be a smoother process if he is in charge rather than Mateusz Morawiecki, the incumbent PM.”
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Pieter Cleppe, Editor-in-chief of BrusselsReport.eu, agreed, telling Express.co.uk: “The EU Commission should not be political.
“It is supposed to be a neutral arbiter, which cannot be reconciled with picking favourites in national elections, which the Commission is now openly and shamelessly doing.
“It does not take a genius to predict that this will backfire on Brussels, but so far, at least Ursula von der Leyen genuinely does not seem to understand that this undermines the EC’s credibility.”
Mr Habib, now the deputy leader of Reform UK, told Express.co.uk: “The EU couches its narratives in the need to uphold democracy and the rules-based system.
“But it only ever observes these needs if it suits it to do so. The second the rules do not wholly deliver what it seeks, it either ignores or changes them.
“Take the EU’s attitude to Poland. For years it has admonished the Polish government for meddling in the appointment of its judiciary.
“Yet all the judges appointed to the Court of Justice of the EU are political appointments. The irony…
“And in its endeavours to bully Poland it withheld €32 billion in Covid area funding otherwise due to that country.”
Had it it respected rules and democracy, Mr Habib said the bloc would have “released to Poland that which is rightfully theirs”.
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He continued: “Along comes Tusk, an arch-Europhile and, even before he has been invited to form a government, he is being treated by the EU as Poland’s next Prime Minister. Talk about trampling the democratic principle.
“But the EU may be in for a shock with Tusk. He knows his views are not broadly shared across Poland and his only route to power is through a weak multi-partite coalition. Once he gets what he wants from the EU, he is likely to be dancing slightly out of their tune.”
Mr Duda last week announced that he was calling the first session of the country’s newly elected parliament for November 13.
His announcement launched a timetable which will lead to the formation of a new government. Mr Duda must also announce a candidate for Prime Minister but said that decision would come later.
Duda said there were two serious candidates for the post, Mr Tusk and Law and Justice leader Mr Morawiecki.
Law and Justice won more votes than any other single party in the election but lost its majority in parliament.
The party secured 194 seats and has no potential coalition government partner. Still, Law and Justice has said it considers itself the winner.
Mr Duda said: “Today, we have two serious candidates for the post of Prime Minister.
“This is a new situation, one might say, in our democratic standards.”
Mr Duda noted that the constitutional term of the outgoing parliament runs til November 12 and that he saw no reason to shorten it.
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