Tusk row overshadows European Union summit

Szydło added that no Polish President of the European Council can be elected without her support.

Their relationship with Germany, Poland's biggest neighbor to the West and its main trade partner, appeared to improve over the previous year, however, compared to its frostiness when Kaczynski's PiS party last ruled Poland in 2005-07.

It is one of the bloc's most prestigious jobs, and involves chairing summits and coordinating the work of the member countries and make sure the 28 nations speak as much as possible with one voice on the global stage.

A summit that was meant to focus on plans for the future after Britain leaves has instead become mired in a Polish political drama with wider implications for looming east-west splits in the European Union.

Poland tried to argue that the decision should be delayed, and reportedly hoped that Hungary, its illiberal brother-in-arms, and the United Kingdom, which will need support in impending Brexit negotiations, would join it in voting against Tusk.

"We want to know what kind of blackmail or pressure was used to vote against our candidate", Waszczykowski said, referring to MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski whom Warsaw had officially proposed to replace Tusk.

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Tusk is a former prime minister who has a long and bitter rivalry with the leader of Poland's current governing party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The president's role is to chair European Council meetings and drive forward its work, as well as represent the EU externally at his level on issues concerning the bloc's common foreign and security policy.

The president of the European Council will now serve for another 30 months.

Earlier Wednesday, a senior German official said Tusk had "overwhelming support" and was fully expected to be given another term in office. "I don't see how one country could oppose this solution when all the others are in favour", said Hollande as he arrived for the summit, quoted in the Associated Press.

But despite the row diplomats confidently predicted a second term for Mr Tusk who was backed by the majority of European Union leaders.

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