Donald Tusk suffered another attack from Poland’s populist government on Monday (2 January), when Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski told Krakow radio station RMF FM that he was an “icon of evil and stupidity” and that he should stay “far away from Poland”.
In an interview with RMF, Waszczykowski responded to the Council president’s recent tweet on his Polish language account, in which he wished his compatriots “A Fatherland free from evil and stupidity,” on the occasion of the New Year.
“I wish that he would stay far away from Poland,” Waszczykowski said, adding that Tusk is “the icon of evil and stupidity”.
Waszczykowski also said that as president of European Council, Tusk “hasn’t helped [Poland] with anything yet”.
In the interview, Waszczykowski said that he was concerned about Poland’s image and that he wants Poland to have a “normal” democracy.
He said that Russia is fighting for a “sovereign democracy” and the West for a “liberal democracy” but that he wants Poland to be a “democracy without adjectives”.
“We would like to have a normal democracy, that when someone wins an election, they have the right to rule, to achieve their plan and programme,” Waszczykowski said.
The minister added that he would like Poland to be perceived as a stable country.
Last week, the head of the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS), Jarosław Kaczyński, said that the Polish government would not support Donald Tusk for a second term as president of the European Council.
Tusk, who served as prime minister of Poland between 2007 and 2014 and had earlier co-founded the Civic Platform (PO) party, now in opposition, has recently infuriated the PiS with extremely critical comments.
Could Tusk be re-elected?
It is difficult to say to what extent the verbal exchanges would effect Tusk’s chances of being re-elected as Council president.
Tusk was appointed to the Council’s top job for a two-and-a-half year mandate that started on 1 December 2014. This means that his mandate expires in June 2017 and that a decision to keep him in the position or to replace him should be made by early 2017.
The president of the European Council is elected by a qualified majority for a term of two and a half years, which is renewable once. Former Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy was the first president between 2009 and 2012, and was then re-elected for a second term until 30 November 2014.
It is assumed that the candidate for president of the European Council is strongly supported by their own country, but the treaties say nothing on the matter.