Polish PM favourite for key EU policy job

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has emerged as clear favourite for the key post of president of the European Council when EU leaders meet for a special summit tomorrow, several sources familiar with the selection process said.

Polish PM favourite for key EU policy job

If confirmed, his appointment to chair and steer policymaking meetings of EU leaders, would be a victory for the 10 ex-communist central and eastern European countries that joined the European Union a decade ago. It would also consecrate Poland’s rise as a major player in the 28-nation bloc alongside EU founders France and Germany.

The pro-European, centre-right Tusk, 57, has not acknowledged in public that he is a contender.

Two Brussels sources said current council president Herman Van Rompuy, who chairs and prepares EU summits, will consult fellow leaders on a package deal in a round of telephone calls on yesterday and today.

“Van Rompuy is to call EU leaders today and if no one is opposed to Tusk there is a deal,” a person involved in the process said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, a centre-left socialist, would become EU foreign policy chief and Spanish Economy Minister Luis De Guindos would succeed Jeroen Dijsselbloem as chairman of eurozone finance ministers when the Dutchman’s term expires, the sources said.

A senior source in Tusk’s Civic Platform party told Reuters for the first time on Wednesday there were “different outcomes” possible for the prime minister, “including the option that Tusk takes one of the most important posts in Europe”.

Whoever wins the post of European Council president is expected to also chair eurozone summits, even if he or she comes from a non-euro zone country such as Poland, a third source said.

“France accepted that in July,” the person said.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on Thursday he was “almost in no danger” of being appointed as the EU foreign policy chief.

Britain was first to endorse Tusk publicly as a candidate on Tuesday, hoping to balance out former Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker, a veteran advocate of deeper EU integration, who was chosen in June to head the executive European Commission against fierce British objections.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokeswoman said Tusk shared Britain’s desire to reform the European Union.

Diplomatic sources said German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried for months to persuade Tusk to take one of the top EU jobs but the Pole initially rebuffed her.

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