Donald Tusk's first year as European Council president

Bernd Riegert, Deutsche Welle, 30.11.2015

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Do you remember Herman Van Rompuy? You don't even remember the name? The Belgian was the first president of the European Council. The fact that he served in the post for five years didn't make him well known in Europe and hardly at all in the rest of the world. As his successor, the Pole Donald Tusk, prepares to celebrate his first year in office Tuesday, he appears to share the same fate. He has kept a low profile despite having called and managed many EU summits and emergency summits on various deadlocks and crunches. "Tusk is very withdrawn, both on the Brussels stage, as well as outside Brussels," said Janis Emmanouilidis, of the European Policy Centre think tank. "He doesn't express his viewpoints on how things should go forward in the European Union. He doesn't make speeches." [...]

Not a happy role

Tusk has also had great difficulty keeping the European Council unified when it comes to refugees. He could not push through quotas to distribute people among the 28 states. Juncker and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were furious - and loudly so. "Disputes belong to the trade now and again," Tusk said. A few summits later, Juncker started calling sessions himself - a right that is generally reserved for the president of the Council, not the chief of the Commission. Still, the European Policy Centre's Emmanouilidis said, Tusk has not taken a balanced role when it comes to refugees: "He has a tendency toward the security aspect and less in the direction of 'we can do this and have to do it.' He doesn't stand on the side of Chancellor Merkel, which has led to a lot of criticism." [...]

See original text at Deutsche Welle here



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