The Polish foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, has slammed the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, as an “icon of evil and stupidity”, urging him to stay “far away from Poland”.
The comments were a response to a New Year’s Eve tweet from Tusk himself, wishing for a Poland “free from evil and stupidity”. Many sharp-tongued Poles responded that the Gdańsk native could have his wish by remaining abroad.
Mr. Waszczykowski said the EC boss: “I wish that he would stay far away from Poland… [he] hasn’t helped [Poland] with anything yet”.
Tusk was prime minister of Poland from 2007-14, side-stepping into his European Union (EU) position just in time to avoid being routed out of office by the populist Law and Justice (PiS) party in national elections. The change is reported to have been prompted by Tusk’s wife, Małgorzata, who was attracted to Brussels by “prestige, better money and less problems at work”, a pay increase from just £47,500 to £235,000, plus allowances, a pension, and a fleet of five limousines.
The prestige of the Civic Platform (PO) party founder at home was badly damaged by the move, however, with the European Council supremo ruefully acknowledging that he is now “Public Enemy Number 1” in Poland.
This stems in large part from an unprecedented EU probe into the rule of law in Poland, widely regarded as an attempt to punish the populist government for undermining the bloc’s “catastrophic” proposal to impose compulsory migrant quotas on member-states. The conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), the first to win an outright majority in the republic since the end of the communist dictatorship, regards the probe as an unacceptable interference in Poland’s democracy and argues that the reforms Brussels have taken issue with are merely an attempt to undo corrupt practices.
Tusk was widely mocked in the UK for “turning Project Fear up to 11” during the Brexit referendum, claiming that a vote to leave the EU could mean “the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also of Western political civilisation in its entirety”.