Monday

2nd Oct 2023

Tusk turns on former partners over Ukraine 'disgrace'

Listen to article

Donald Tusk launched a blistering attack on his former EU partner countries on Friday morning (25 February), voicing his disgust at the "pretend" strength of overnight European sanctions on Russia.

Tusk, the Polish president of the EU Council until 2019 and current chair of the European People's Party — the largest group in the European Parliament — broke with normal diplomatic niceties to lambast Germany, Hungary and Italy as having "disgraced themselves."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In an early morning tweet, just six hours after the overnight EU summit finished, Tusk wrote directly to his former - and current - colleagues: "In this war everything is real…only your sanctions are pretend.

"Those EU government's [sic], which blocked tough decisions (i.a. Germany, Hungary, Italy) have disgraced themselves."

That is an apparent reference to the split between more dovish, or so-called incrementalist, member states, and those — particularly the Baltic states — who want more immediate and complete sanctions on Moscow.

The overnight emergency summit in Brussels, which concluded at around 3AM on Friday, was split on barring Russia from international SWIFT banking transactions.

The frank outburst from Tusk is not unprecedented.

During his time at the top of the EU he grew incensed at pro-Brexit forces in the UK, and he did not hesitate to express his ire.

"I've been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted #Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely," he tweeted in 2019.

Tusk was prime minister of Poland from 2007-2014, so is well aware of the country's relationship with Russia, having himself personally overlapped with Vladimir Putin's now 22-year rule of Russia.

Last year he returned to Polish domestic politics after his Brussels stint, becoming leader of the Civic Platform centre-right liberal party.

In the remainder of his tweet, Tusk accused Putin directly of "madness and cruelty".

Poland has a land border with both Ukraine and Belarus and is expecting an influx of Ukrainian refugees from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Weapons to Ukraine? It may be too late

Weapons shipments may not be much of a quick fix for Ukraine in the face of an integrated and well equipped invasion force like Russia's.

Russia launches full-scale attack on Ukraine

EU leaders immediately condemned the invasion, with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen calling on Russia to withdraw its forces and vowing further sanctions.

Opinion

Has the EU gone far enough on sanctions?

This is how sanctions work: to be credible, those who put these measures in place must be willing to accept negative effects on both sides. To make a difference, EU countries will have to be ready to bear the costs.

Opinion

Vladimir Putin – the man who just united Europe

We are witnessing the emergence of the EU as a military power. We see Finland and Sweden consider joining Nato. We see Germany increasing its defence spend. We see Hungary, long Putin's puppet-state in the EU, breaking with its master.

Opinion

How Nato's Bucharest summit came back to bite in Ukraine

Was Bush right, to want to offer Ukraine immediate Nato membership? Or was Europe right, to offer it as a distant prospect? There were certainly no answers on offer in that hall of mirrors in Bucharest.

Opinion

Punish Belarus too for aiding Putin's Ukraine war

While Belarus has not sent its own troops to fight Russia's war in Ukraine, the Minsk dictatorship has been heavily involved. As a result, Belarus must be punished for its involvement — what can the world do to sanction Belarus?

Latest News

  1. Hoekstra faces tough questioning to be EU Green chief
  2. Frontex shared personal data of NGO staff with Europol six times
  3. Why EU Commission dumped Google's favourite consultant
  4. Slovak's 'illiberal' Fico victory boosts Orban, but faces checks
  5. European Political Community and key media vote This WEEK
  6. Is the ECB sabotaging Europe's Green Deal?
  7. The realists vs idealists Brussels battle on Ukraine's EU accession
  8. EU women promised new dawn under anti-violence pact

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  2. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators, industry & healthcare experts at the 24th IMDRF session, September 25-26, Berlin. Register by 20 Sept to join in person or online.
  3. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  4. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  5. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators & industry experts at the 24th IMDRF session- Berlin September 25-26. Register early for discounted hotel rates
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us