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Polish FM: we lost because ‘rules were changed during the game’

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 10.03.2017 14:28
Donald Tusk was appointed to head the European Council for a second term despite protests from Warsaw because the “rules were changed during the game”, said Poland’s foreign minister.
Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: PAP/Jakub KamińskiPolish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński

The Polish governing Law and Justice (PiS) party had embarked on an intense effort to thwart the election on Thursday of Tusk, who had served as prime minister of Poland while PiS was in opposition.

Poland had put forward the name of MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski to run against Tusk, and earlier this week Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said that the country’s officials would not allow the vote to go through.

However, EU government leaders decided to elect Tusk for a second term of two and a half years. Among the prime ministers who supported Tusk’s bid were Hungary’s Viktor Orban and the UK’s Theresa May, both of whom were seen as allies of the PiS government on the European stage.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło was the only leader out of the 28 at the Brussels summit who voted against Tusk.

Speaking to Polish Radio on Friday, Wasczykowski said that Poland calls for the European Union to adhere to its own principles.

These regulations were yesterday changed and broken before our eyes. The question is, why such a large group of countries seem not to mind,” Waszczykowski said.

“We lost because of the fact that the rules were changed during the game,” he added.

In a tweet following the vote, Tusk wrote: “Grateful for trust & positive assessment by [the European Council]. I will do my best to make the EU better.”

PiS leader Jarosław Kaczński, said: “It's a very bad situation that a politician was elected who broke all the rules that previously existed in the European Union, above all, the rule of neutrality.”

Polish officials had said that Tusk had overstepped his mandate and interfered in domestic Polish politics.

Kaczyński has repeatedly said that criminal charges could be brought against Tusk, who headed the government at the time of the 2010 plane crash which killed Kaczyński’s twin brother Lech, then president of Poland as well as 95 others.

A commission has also been opened into the Amber Gold pyramid scheme which closed in 2012. The parliamentary commission is trying to establish whether then-prime minister Tusk had prior knowledge of the company’s activities. (rg)

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