Poland determined to delay decision on EU's Tusk

"Today, we will also decide on the reelection of Donald Tusk as president of the European Council for next 2.5 years".

A source in the Polish government said that Poland will first insist on delaying the reappointment and then seek a special summit on choosing the next European Council president after Tusk's term ends at the end of May.

Warsaw's surprise announcement of a challenger has upset plans to rubber-stamp a new mandate for former Polish premier Tusk, and underscored east-west splits in the 28-nation bloc.

Ahead of the European Union leaders' summit in Brussels, current Ms Szydlo said Warsaw did not want Mr Tusk because he had criticised Polish government policies.

The leaders from 27 European Union member sates will meet again on Friday to prepare for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, as British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is expected to trigger Article 50 to start Brexit talks later this month, will not attend. Tusk tweeted: "Grateful for the European Council's confidence and positive assessment".

"I don't see how one country could oppose this solution when all the others are in favor", said French President Francois Hollande, echoing comment from numerous bloc's 28 leaders.

Meanwhile, the leaders will also look at how to sustain the momentum of reinforcing Europe's security and defense, Tusk said.

"We are steadfast supporters of the European Union", he said on Thursday.

According to Fico, the upcoming summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday will be a working one and it will discuss employment, security, migration and preparations for the Rome Summit slated for March 25.

Poland's nationalist government, which has often been at odds with Brussels and EU partners, has proposed little-known Polish EU lawmaker Jacek Saryusz-Wolski to replace Tusk.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered Mr Tusk public support in a pre-summit speech to politicians in Berlin.

"Attending a cultural event at the time, Tusk said, "I appeal to those who hold real power in our country to respect the people, the principles and values of the constitution, the standing procedures and good practices", claiming that PiS was undermining the “European model of democracy".

  • Tracy Ferguson