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Polish PM-to-be Tusk vows to improve Poland-Ukraine relations, resolve border blockade

Donald Tusk, coalition leader of newly elected Polish parliament, seeks the Prime Minister post, highlighting his commitment to resolving Poland-Ukraine tensions, particularly the cargo blockade, and working toward stronger ties between the two countries.
Donald Tusk
Donald Tusk. Photo PAP/Piotr Nowak
Polish PM-to-be Tusk vows to improve Poland-Ukraine relations, resolve border blockade

Donald Tusk, leader of Poland’s Civic Platform party and of the largest coalition in the country’s newly elected parliament, is vying to become Poland’s Prime Minister and address recent tensions between Poland and Ukraine. Tusk hopes to secure the role on December 12th, allowing him to participate in the upcoming EU summit in Brussels.

Donald Tusk announced that he had held meetings with candidates for ministerial positions in the new government, which he said would address the problems that have recently arisen between Warsaw and Kyiv, according to Voice of America.

Donald Tusk told reporters on 8 December that he hopes to vote on a new cabinet as early as 12 December and swear in the government on the next day so that he can attend the European Union summit in Brussels on 14 December.

The EU summit scheduled for 14-15 December is expected to address, among other things, key issues such as the possibility of starting negotiations on Ukraine’s membership, as well as a multi-year €50 billion European assistance program for Ukraine.

“Poland has provided crucial support to Ukraine in defending against the Russian invasion and transiting much of the international aid, as well as sheltering a huge number of Ukrainian refugees, but friction between the two countries has become very visible on some issues,” VoA notes.

Tusk emphasizes the importance of addressing domestic issues and also criticized what he referred to as the shortcomings of the current government led by Mateusz Morawiecki. Tusk specifically pointed to issues like the blockade of cargo transportation at the Poland-Ukraine border, where long lines of trucks have accumulated on the Polish side.

According to Tusk, he will act in the interests of Polish truckers but will seek to resolve the issues so that the blockade of the border is lifted.

Another source of tension between Kyiv and Warsaw is Poland’s decision to impose import bans on Ukrainian grain, in contrast to the EU’s position.

When asked about his ability to influence Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who publicly opposed aid to Ukraine and EU accession negotiations, Tusk acknowledged the deep-rooted ties between Orban and Russia, making it challenging to sway the Hungarian leader’s stance.

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