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Submitted by JP on Tue, 12/12/2023 - 16:59
Prime Minister Donald Tusk Vows to Make Poland a Leader in Europe

Polish new Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said that under his government Poland will reclaim its leading position in the EU and a strong position in the NATO by respecting the larger community. "Poland is and will remain a key, strong, sovereign element of the North Atlantic Alliance. It will be a loyal, stable, confident in its principles, strength, and significance ally of the United States. Poland will regain the position of a leader in the European Union. Poland will build its strength, its position, deserving it through cooperation and by respecting the larger community that Europe represents today," said Donald Tusk on Tuesday in the Sejm. Tusk, designated as Prime Minister on Monday by the Polish Parliament, added that "A solitary Poland is the one exposed to the greatest risk."

Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Photo by Marcin Obara/PAP

“Things are getting really dangerous in the world,” PM Tusk told Polish lawmakers as he outlined his government’s plans. “Firstly, a war at our borders. I probably don’t need to convince anyone how important the stability of our alliances is, how crucial Poland’s strong position in the world and in Europe is… It is crucial to reiterate, as our national dogma, that Poland is and will be a key, strong, sovereign link in the North Atlantic Alliance. Poland will be loyal, stable, confident in its rationale, a force, and a significant ally of the United States. Poland will assume leadership in the European Union. Poland will build its strength, the position it deserves” he emphasized.

“We are all the stronger, all the more sovereign when not only Poland is stronger but also the European Union,” , adding that he would like Poland to have such a strong position in the European Union that it is Poland that decides the future of the EU. 'Any attempts to change treaties againt our interests are bound to fail. I want to tell you that no one will outplay me in the European Union,' he announced. Donald Tusk also said he would go to Brussels this week and “bring back billions of euros”, referring to EU funds frozen under the previous government due to a row over the rule of law. 

“After returning from Brussels, I will go to Tallinn to meet the prime ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Topics are obvious: the war, safe borders. We will strengthen cooperation with countries that share our views on this matter,” Tusk said.

An attack on Ukraine is an attack on all of us

Poland’s newly elected prime minister has pledged to win full Western support for Ukraine in its war against Russia and mediate past hurdles with the European Union. "We need to talk about Ukraine. We see President Zelensky trying to convince the world once again of what the real stakes are, that an attack on Ukraine is essentially an attack on all of us," he observed. “I am fed up with some European politicians from countries of the West who speak about being tired of the situation in Ukraine,” he added. “We will loudly and decisively demand the full mobilisation of the free world, the Western world, to help Ukraine in this war. There is no alternative,” - Donald Tusk said.

In his address to Parliament on Tuesday, Mr. Tusk indirectly criticized Mr. Orban and the Prime Minister of neighboring Slovakia, Robert Fico, without explicitly naming them. Both leaders are against providing assistance to Ukraine and advocate keeping it outside the European Union."Almost without exception, political leaders in Europe and around the world who renounce traditional republican, European political values, democracy, the rule of law, media independence, and freedom of speech are simultaneously anti-Ukrainian. [...] Only a united West, including a united Europe, can help Ukraine win the war around these values. Therefore, in Polish politics, there will be a very clear assertiveness towards those countries and politicians who have turned away not only from these values but today also expose Ukraine to the risk of failure," emphasized the new Polish prime minister. "I will not mention names and names of these countries because I will go to Brussels with the justified hope that we will find ways—different from before—to connvince our traditional allies to take a clear stand in favor of freedom, republican values, and the defense of Ukraine against Russian aggression," Donald Tusk announced.

The new Prime Minister Donald Tusk also promised to resolve a monthlong blockade at the Ukraine border by Polish truckers, who are demanding the reintroduction of entry permits for their Ukrainian competitors.

The return to power

The speech preceded a confidence vote for his proposed government, a vote he subsequently won with 248 in favor and 201 against. Donald Tusk, born 22 April 1957, is a co-founder and chairman of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska), a former Polish Prime Minister (from 2007 to 2014), a former European Council president (from 2014 to 2019) and an opposition leader. He was elected prime minister by the lower house of parliament, the Sejm, on Monday. The return to power of Mr. Tusk nearly two months after October 15 elections,  ended eight years of rule by Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice). Prawo i Sprawiedliwość came first in an Oct. 15 election and had the first shot at forming a government, but lacked the necessary majority to do so after all other parties ruled out working with it.

The new government of Donald Tusk will be sworn in by President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday.