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From Gdańsk to the EU and Back: Donald Tusk Takes Helm of Poland Once Again

Donald Tusk, the 66-year-old leader of the Civic Platform, has been sworn in as the new prime minister of Poland. He has twice fulfilled the role of Prime Minister from 2007 to 2014 and the President of the European Council from 2014 to 2019 for two mandates. He is originally from the Baltic Sea community of Gdańsk. His mother was a nurse, and his father was a carpenter. Both were required to perform manual labour under Nazi occupation. Furthermore, Tusk is a member of an ethnic minority: he is a Kashubian, a member of a community that speaks a language distinct from Polish and is descended directly from the Pomeranian Slavic tribe of antiquity.

Donald Tusk
Donald Tusk. Image: X

During the 1970s, Tusk emerged as a prominent anti-communist student leader while studying history at the University of Gdańsk, where he had previously excelled as a football player. His political career commenced during his youth. Donald Tusk became one of Solidarity’s most prominent young intellectuals in his adolescence. Following the implementation of martial law in Poland in 1981, he established a cooperative while working as a chimney painter. As a result of this experience, he came to appreciate classical liberalism and capitalism, specifically the economic systems advocated by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Since assuming the position of prime minister in 2007, he has adeptly administered EU funds and enacted vehemently pro-EU and business-oriented policies. He entered parliament in 1991. The challenges confronted his second administration, which he established in 2011. He assumed the presidency of the European Council in 2014, succeeding Herman van Rompuy of Belgium. At first, criticised for his rudimentary command of the English language, he rapidly acquired proficiency through instruction. During his presidency of Romania in 2019, he delivered a speech exclusively in Romanian in Bucharest, met with enthusiastic applause from the audience. Tusk assumed the presidency of the European People’s Party after his two mandates as head of the European Council, subsequently returning to Poland to contest the ruling Law and Justice party.



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