The enthusiastic reception of the Polish Prime Minister in Brussels is not only the result of Tusk’s old acquaintances. This is an expression of hope that centrist governments – based on respect for the law – can overcome the wave of populism and Eurosceptism also in other EU countries.
For three days in Brussels, Donald Tusk heard warm words and expressions of exceptional sympathy at every step. The question is whether Brussels journalists and politicians missed Tusk more, or maybe pro-European Poland? – Poland is back in Europe. This is the most important moment in my political life, Tusk told foreign correspondents in Brussels. This statement was noticed in many European capitals. This is what Chancellor Olaf Scholz said about Poland in the German Bundestag: – Donald Tusk said that Poland will again be in the heart of the European Union. This is Poland’s place. It is an integral part of our common Union. Poland’s role in Europe is greater today than ever. Poland’s contribution to security is significant in the light of the Russian war in the east of our continent.
The change of power in Poland gives pro-European forces hope. A dozen or so days ago, the Politico website awarded Donald Tusk the title of the most influential person in Europe in the coming year. The justification read that “the pro-European government is a ray of hope for centrists across the continent who are watching with despair as populist forces move from the periphery of politics to government: Giorgia Meloni is in power in Italy, Putin’s pal Robert Fico returns in Slovakia , the far-right Alternative for Germany is gaining in the polls, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing Fidesz party looks stronger than ever. – Tusk comes and maintains a certain mood. This heralds a positive change in political vectors in Europe in the sense of suppressing populism and the rank of right-wing and far-right parties. But this is Tusk, this is Poland. What about all of Europe? – asks Marek Ostrowski, a journalist of “Polityka”.
– We have elections to the European Parliament in just six months and most of the forces in Europe claim that the European Parliament will be completely different after June, that these elections may tip the scales towards those forces that are not so pro-European – notes Professor Katarzyna Pisarska, president Council of the Kazimierz Pułaski Foundation. The political map of Europe is constantly evolving. Poland has returned to the group of “Euro-enthusiastic” countries, but Slovakia has recently dropped out and is once again ruled by the pro-Putin Robert Fico. It is not known which direction the Netherlands will turn. Geert Wilders’ far-right party won the elections there, but it may not find anyone willing to co-govern.
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Improving Warsaw’s relations with Paris and Berlin will most likely result in the reactivation of the Weimar Triangle. The Visegrad Group, which the PiS government focused on, is today divided in half. On one side there are the Czech Republic and Poland, and on the other side there are Hungary and Slovakia. – For me, the big question mark at the moment is how to renew, or whether there is any chance at all for, a real renewal of the Visegrad Group as a strong regional group here in the European Union. Well, because the differences regarding Russian and Ukrainian policy, but also the approach to Europe as a whole, are very large – said Tusk.
Change of style
For now, what is visible is a change in the style of doing politics, and this is crucial in the Union, which is built on countless compromises between member states. – This is certainly a radical change in the way we conduct our diplomacy. It is certainly also a symbolic breakthrough in terms of how we will talk. We will be focused on a constructive conversation, friendly and full of understanding for our partners and our partners’ understanding for us – emphasizes Karolina Obajniewska, editor-in-chief of euroactiv.pl.
Poland’s role in the EU arena is also strengthened by the fact that, thanks to Tusk’s return to the prime minister’s chair, Poland is now the largest country headed by a politician from the largest European party – the European People’s Party.
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