Who's the most powerful person in Europe?
    Politico unveils

    WORLD  29 November 2023 - 10:08

    The leader of the Polish opposition association "Civic Coalition" (CC), former President of the European Council Donald Tusk became the most influential person in Europe according to the European Bureau of Politico

    According to the newspaper, for two decades, two men have waged a battle for Poland’s soul. In the blue corner, fighting for a democratic, modern, European vision of the future: Donald Tusk, a former prime minister who served as president of the European Council before returning as leader of the centrist opposition; in the red corner, duking it out for the traditionalists, the Catholic conservatives, the nationalists: Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the Law and Justice Party (PiS). Each man has had a chance to shape Poland in his image, only to have the other wind back the clock. Now, after eight years of Kaczyński, the country is on the cusp of a new age of Tusk, and the wind of change is blowing once more.

    Tusk’s showing in October’s election, in which the charismatic 66-year-old led a grouping of parties ranging in views from the centre-right to the left, gives his coalition a clear path to power. His performance in the EU’s fifth most populous country — secured despite increasingly desperate attempts by PiS to tilt the playing field using the state-controlled media and Poland’s coffers — showed that even in a flawed system, it is possible to beat back entrenched populists on a platform of returning to the mainstream.

    It’s a sliver of hope for centrists across the Continent, who have watched in despair as populist forces moved from the fringes and into government: Giorgia Meloni is in power in Italy, Putin pal Robert Fico is back in Slovakia, the far-right Alternative for Germany is surging in the polls, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s right-wing Fidesz party looks stronger than ever. And that’s before anyone mentions the two blond elephants in the room: Donald T. on the other side of the Atlantic, and Geert Wilders’ stunning first-place finish in the Dutch election.

    If Tusk does manage to form a government, he has vowed to undo his predecessors’ court reforms — a move that would likely see the EU drop its various attempts to rein in Warsaw — and shepherd Poland out of the deep freeze and back into the heart of the EU’s decision-making.

    The reverberations of Tusk’s return would be felt around Europe. With Tusk at Poland’s helm once more and making conciliatory noises, these tensions with France and Germany would likely ease, and the Poland-France-Germany security troika could get back to business.

    The prospect of a Tusk-led Poland would see Kyiv breathing a sigh of relief. While Warsaw has strongly backed Ukraine over the past two years of war, in recent months tensions have boiled over over Ukraine’s agricultural exports. Tusk, a longtime Russia hawk, has called for unwavering support for Kyiv.

    To be sure, Tusk won’t be able to change Poland overnight. His Civic Coalition received fewer votes than Law and Justice, meaning he’ll need to rely on coalition partners to push through legislation. Meanwhile, eight years in power have given Kaczyński’s forces plenty of time to entrench. The government leaves behind allies who will need to be pried out of key roles. 

    Caliber.Az

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