Donald Tusk assumes presidency of the European council

Expected to help the EU grow to create jobs and preserve its values and drive.

Former Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, recently took the reins of the European Council for the next two and a half years in order to help the European Union (EU) grow again, creating jobs and preserving its values and its unity in times of Euroscepticism and mounting tensions with Russia.

In a handover ceremony with his predecessor, Belgian Herman Van Rompuy, who led the forum for the past five years, officially brought together twenty heads of state. Tusk confessed being “nervous” on his first day of work and to the “challenges” posed head the Council.

The 57-year old Polish politician admitted the challenge is twofold because it happens to be a person he admires greatly for having tirelessly sought compromises, solutions and building trust between leaders to take projects forward, and also because Van Rompuy has “helped lead Europe out of the economic storm.”

Van Rompuy said he holds in high regard “the traditional European principles” such as trust, common sense, moderation and decency, which are also important for him.

The Former Prime Minister of Poland (2007-2014) explained that he arrived in Brussels with four goals, starting with “protect our fundamental values, freedom, solidarity and unity against threats coming from both inside and outside”. In a previous video posted by the Council, Tusk said that “the biggest challenge is to save our civilization.”

“Not only are Eurosceptics questioning the values of the EU. It’s not only our enemies that are skeptical. The policy has returned to Europe. The story is back and in these times, we need leadership and political unity,” he said at the handover ceremony in what has been interpreted as a reference to the British issue and crisis with Russia.

In an interview a few days ago with the Financial Times, Tusk said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, the EU “is a problem” and that Veintiocho should understand that “Russia is our strategic partner” but “our strategic problem.”

On the other hand, Tusk considered that the EU needs “a relentless determination to end the economic crisis” and must complete the comprehensive economic and monetary union delineated in recent years. “The euro is our advantage, not our disadvantage,” stressed the Polish politician whose country is not in the Eurozone, but today who holds the position of chairman as head of the EU institutions.

Tusk has proposed that the EU is “strong internationally” and “secure its borders and support those in the neighborhood who share the values” of Europe. It also found that the relationship between Europe and the US are the “backbone” of the community of democracies and the future of their relationship through FTA negotiating.