March 8, 2017 / 4:16 PM / 3 years ago

Polish government candidate for European Council head not invited to summit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Polish government’s candidate for president of the European Council, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, will not be invited to attend the EU summit on Thursday, the Maltese presidency of the European Union said on Wednesday.

The current president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is running for a second term in office and has the support of nearly all European Union governments, except his home Poland, ruled by his political rivals.

Keen to block Tusk from being appointed for another 2-and-a-half year term as the chairman of EU summits, the Polish government proposed to replace Tusk with Saryusz-Wolski, a European Parliament member who has never held a top government job.

Warsaw insisted that Saryusz-Wolski be invited to the summit to present his program to EU leaders.

“Our prime minister has informed the Polish government that Saryusz-Wolski will not be invited to the summit,” a Maltese presidency spokesman said.

“The reason is that you need unanimity from all heads of state to invite somebody external,” the spokesman said, adding some leaders opposed the idea.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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