WARSAW (AFP) – Polish media on Friday underscored their country’s isolation in the European Union after the bloc’s leaders re-elected liberal Donald Tusk as president despite strident opposition from the rightwing government in his native Poland.
“Tusk won 27 to 1,” read the headline splashed across the Gazeta Wyborcza liberal daily, while the centrist Rzeczpospolita daily concluded that “Poland is alone in the EU”.
The bloc’s leaders voted by 27 to one at the summit in Brussels on Thursday to give former Polish premier Tusk a new two-and-a-half-year mandate, with only Poland’s current Prime Minister Beata Szydlo voting against.
Szydlo, whose right-wing eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party has nursed a long and bitter enmity with the centrist Tusk, announced that she would block the summit’s final communique in revenge.
Polish media close to her government on Friday welcomed her “courage and the intransigence” in the face of “terrible pressure” in Brussels.
But Rzeczpospolita dubbed Tusk’s re-election “the unprecedented failure of the Law and Justice government.
“It’s obvious that Warsaw is isolated and has no allies in Europe,” the daily said in an acerbic editorial.
— Gazeta Wyborcza.pl (@gazeta_wyborcza) March 10, 2017
Gazeta Wyborcza meanwhile observed that “the open war against the EU will have detrimental consequences for Poland”, particularly in terms of the future EU budget and regional policy.
“If (PiS party leader Jaroslaw) Kaczynski forces the government to get angry with the EU, it’s not the EU that will lose but Poland,” it said.
Radoslaw Sikorski, a former Polish foreign minister, called Poland’s failure in Brussels the “political Waterloo”, evoking the crushing defeat of its rightwing government.
But according to the nationalist wpolityce.pl news website, Tusk’s re-election demonstrates that the EU is “in Germany’s sphere of influence.”
“It (Tusk’s re-election) is an element of German domination in Europe”, the site said in an editorial echoing earlier comments by Kaczynski and Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski.
“Poland finally has a diplomatic policy and a prime minister that work in the national interest, without humbly waiting for praise” from others.