Germany urges EU to rally behind Poland's Tusk for top job

Germany urges EU to rally behind Poland's Tusk for top job

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BRUSSELS (AP) — A senior German official called on Tuesday for European Union countries to rally behind Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister who is seeking a second term in one of the bloc's top positions.

EU leaders are to vote Thursday on who will head the EU Council for the next 2½ years. The president chairs summits of the 28-nation bloc's leaders.

Tusk has been unexpectedly challenged by his country, Poland, where he is a bitter rival of the governing party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Poland's government wants a Polish center-right European lawmaker, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, to replace Tusk, whose term ends May 31.

Tusk said the election of the leader will be the first point on the agenda of the two-day EU summit starting Thursday.

Malta currently holds the EU presidency, and its deputy prime minister, Louis Grech, said negotiations were underway on the new head of the council. He offered no details.

German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said he knows of reservations over Tusk only in Poland and Hungary. He said Tusk enjoys widespread confidence "and that is a clear signal that those who currently still have problems with the reappointment of Donald Tusk as Council president should understand."

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