22nd Apr 2019

New Polish leader vows to take pro-EU course

Just days before being sworn in as Poland's prime minister, Donald Tusk has outlined his cabinet's priorities: to improve problematic relations with other EU countries; to adopt the euro in 2012-2013; as well as to re-examine the US plan to place an anti-missile shield in Poland.

After outgoing prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski stepped down on Tuesday (6 November), Mr Tusk said he was set to place Poland back in the European mainstream.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

In addition, special attention will be paid to Polish-German relations.

"We will try to base our relations on a greater level of trust", Mr Tusk, the leader of the pro-business and pro-European Civic Platform (PO), said, according to Thomson Financial, adding he aims at "as good a level as they were in the 1990s".

The outgoing government, led by Mr Kaczynski' conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), had earned itself the reputation of a trouble-maker, often choosing isolation on European issues.

It blocked talks on a new EU partnership agreement with Moscow in 2005 and revived WWII rhetoric during the negotiations on the new EU treaty.

However, Polish-German ties will still be tested over plans by Russian gas giant Gazprom and German firms BASF and E.ON to build a pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea - something that should connect Russia and Germany, but bypass the traditional transit countries such as the Baltic states and Poland.

The Polish leading-in-waiting has expressed confidence that the plan will be examined once again in Berlin and Moscow.

According to Reuters, he said "this initiative, this project, has not been prepared well...I hope and I hear some signals that in the nearest future the sponsors of the project would be ready to seriously correct it".

Ties with Washington and the euro

Poland's new pro-European course may come at a price for the country's ties with Washington. Mr Tusk has indicated he will consult his EU counterparts before agreeing to the US plan to place an anti-missile shield in Poland.

"If we decide, jointly in talks with our partners in the European Union and NATO partners, that this isn't an unambiguous project, then we are definitely going to think it over", he was cited as saying by AP.

The statement was the first signal of a different approach compared to the one adopted by outgoing prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski as well as his twin brother, president Lech Kaczysnki.

"I am perhaps more sceptical, and the president a more declared supporter of missile defence", Mr Tusk said, AP reports, adding however that he is "almost certain that we will reach a common position on the issue".

In addition, Poland's prime minister elect has reiterated his plans to withdraw 900 Polish soldiers stationed in Iraq next year - a mission that he described as a burden to the country's budget.

"We will look, in consultation with our most important ally, the US, at a re-conception of our presence in Iraq. Our goal, however, is to end the army's mission in Iraq in 2008", Mr Tusk was cited as saying by Thomson Financial.

Speaking about the euro, he has vowed to prepare his country for "as fast as possible" decision on joining the euro, cautiously setting the target for 2012-2013.

"This caution is aimed at avoiding a potential rise in prices after adoption. If my government is to take a decision, we will accompany this decision with very precisely prepared simulations", he added.

EU commission plans bolstering rule of law toolbox

As EU concerns over rule of law in some member states grow, the commission opens a debate on tools to discipline unruly member states. The EU executive has launched a new probe against Poland, and put Romania on the spot.

Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban

The EU's largest political alliance, the EPP, will try to put the 'Orban issue' behind it going into the European election campaign. Hungary's ruling party, Fidesz, could be expelled or suspended from the political family.

EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Germany and Belgium have put forward a proposal for a "peer review" of EU countries' legal systems as member states and EU institutions struggle with disciplining member states that break EU rules.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.


Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us