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EU leaders on Saturday agreed to appoint Polish PM Donald Tusk as the next EU Council president and Italian minister Federica Mogherini as the bloc’s new foreign affairs chief, reports www.euobserver.com.
Outgoing council head Herman Van Rompuy praised Tusk’s pro-European credentials and for the way he steered Poland through the economic crisis, noting that it was the only EU economy which kept growing while most suffered recession.
Tusk said his appointment comes at a time when “eastern European expertise will be badly needed in Europe” and that he will seek an EU consensus on how to handle the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
As he will also chair summits of eurozone leaders only, Tusk added that Europe should not be divided into “separate clubs” and that he would not have taken the post if there was to be a separate, eurozone-only chairman.
Amid criticism from some EU states on his weak English, he threw in an English pun: “Nothing is good enough for Europe, including my English, and I will polish my English … So don’t worry”.
German chancellor Angela Merkel also voiced approval.
“It is good that Europe will have such a highly qualified and motivated European, 25 years after the collapse of the Berlin wall, 25 years after the end of the Cold War”, she said in a brief statement.
Tusk, 57, is the second Polish politician to get a high-level EU job after Jerzy Buzek, also a former PM, led the European Parliament between 2009 and 2012.