Poland urges European Union to reject Tusk presidency

"An extension of the mandate of the European Council President against the position of the government of the country of (his) origin is at adds with the intergovernmental nature of the work of our Council", Prime Minister Beata Szydlo wrote in a letter lobbying other EU leaders to support Warsaw's candidate.

This gives rise to a very risky European union.

The election of the European Council President for the next term is expected to be one of the key decisions taken at this week's EU summit in Brussels.

The leaders also face rifts over Britain's exit as they meet without Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday to draw up plans to mark the EU's 60th birthday in Rome later this month.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful head of Poland's ruling rightwing Law and Justice (PiS ) party, accused political arch-rival Tusk of having "betrayed his own country".

"I hear very often that central European countries benefit from the EU budget and because of this should be obedient", the Polish premier said.

Poland's nationalist government has proposed little-known Polish EU lawmaker Jacek Saryusz-Wolski to replace Tusk, whose current term ends May 31.

Unity is at a premium for the European Union as it deals with Britain's departure after last year's referendum, Russian aggression and new U.S. President Donald Trump.

Muscat this afternoon chaired the session during which Tusk was reconfirmed at the helm of the European Council.

The dispute could have major implications for Mrs May, who needs to forge alliances with European leaders in her negotiations for a Brexit deal after she triggers Article 50 this month.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who holds the rotating seat of the European Union presidency and who oversaw the vote for the council president, said there was overwhelming support for another term for Tusk, whose current term expires on 31 May.

"I am not the one responsible (for the) clashes", Tusk said on the eve of the summit in Brussels. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said: "We don't want to become hostages of national politics inside Poland".

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