Polish PM Tusk named EU president

European leaders have named Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk as the next EU president and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini to head the bloc’s foreign service, current leader Herman Van Rompuy says.


“Elected. The European Council has elected PM Donald Tusk as the next president of the European Council and Euro Summits,” said Van Rompuy on Twitter.

The European Union is undergoing a leadership change after elections across its 28 countries in May.

Saturday’s appointments end months of haggling over the two posts, currently held by Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton.

The top trio – together with the next European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker – should include men and women, from conservative and socialist-led capitals, representing the EU’s western and eastern members.

Tusk’s chances to succeed Van Rompuy from December had risen in recent days, after British Prime Minister David Cameron added his support to that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Tusk will also chair summits of the 18-member euro currency bloc.

His main competitor was considered to be Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt – although she repeatedly denied that she was running for the job.

Mogherini’s candidature did also not go unchallenged, as some member states criticised her lack of experience, as well as arguing that Italy has not been tough enough on Russia over its role in Ukraine.

Socialist leaders endorsed Mogherini’s candidature at their Paris pre-summit talks, French President Francois Hollande said upon arrival in Brussels.

He stressed however that the 28 leaders would seek a “consensus solution”.

Conservative EU lawmaker Elmar Brok, who chairs the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said they would present Mogherini with “conditions” for them to approve her nomination.

“She seems to be embracing many of our proposals,” Brok said.

He has previously been critical of Mogherini’s candidature, emphasising that the job requires experience.

Other names that had been touted for the post include EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, of Bulgaria, and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski.

The leaders are also due on Saturday to discuss the crises in Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza, while France plans to call on the EU to pledge further assistance in the fight against Ebola, according to Elysee sources.