Donald Tusk speaks out against xenophobia in major speech to Polish parliament – Europe live | Poland

Tusk speaks out against xenophobia in major speech

In his speech this morning, Donald Tusk is laying out his principles.

“I protest against the marginalisation of Poland’s role in the international arena,” he said.

The new Polish leader added:

I protest against the xenophobia introduced by the authorities into public debate.

He also addressed the issue of migration.

I protest against the hostile attitude of the authorities towards immigrants.

Tusk also spoke about media freedom.

I protest against the incapacitation of public television.

He added:

We will have different views on many issues, but we want to be a community and the work of the future government will focus on this.

We are so different, we are attached to different traditions. This is our wealth. The community is built by the rule of law and the constitution, and we should not argue about this just to be able to safely argue about other topics.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

Key events

Renew Europe says Hungary should not get frozen funds

The Renew Europe group has pushed back against an expected European Commission decision to release about a third of Hungary’s frozen EU funds.

“We are against the release of any European funds for Hungary,” said Stéphane Séjourné, president of Renew Europe, in a statement.

He added:

We have no guarantee that there will be a return to sustainable democracy in Hungary. The future of the European Union, Ukraine and Moldova cannot be held hostage by one man.

Katalin Cseh, a member of the European Parliament from Hungary’s Momentum, part of Renew Europe, said:

A decision to disburse EU funds for the Hungarian government would raise concerns about the European Commission’s commitment to upholding the rule of law.

The European Parliament’s thorough assessment revealed a clear discrepancy between proposed reforms and the judicial super-milestones set by the Commission.

While some progress has been achieved under EU pressure, it is evident that Hungary does not currently meet the minimum standards of the rule of law.

‘I’m still waiting for real reasons’: Bettel blasts Orbán over Ukraine

Lisa O’Carroll

Back in Brussels, Donald Tusk’s friend and former prime minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel has warned Hungary’s Viktor Orbán that the EU is not a market in which membership can be bought and sold.

Ahead of a widely expected showdown with the Hungarian prime minister, who is threatening to veto the launch of talks on Ukrainian membership of the bloc, Bettel – now Luxembourg’s deputy prime minister – warned that Hungary should remember its own journey into the EU before throwing stones.

When Hungary became a member, we have asked if Hungary was rich enough to be a member of the European Union. Maybe Hungary wouldn’t be a member today. So it’s also solidarity.

He added:

We are not in the souk to say ‘I take this’ and we don’t fix the price. There are rules and we have to stick to the rules. If there is a veto, I just would like to understand why there is a veto. It has to be justified. I’m still waiting for real reasons (from Orbán) and not the other reasons.

Szymon Hołownia, the Polish parliament’s speaker, said over 4 million Poles watched the Sejm session yesterday, calling for applause for them.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

Concluding his speech in the Polish parliament, Donald Tusk pointed to a study by the Centre for Public Opinion Research (CBOS), which found that the largest number of Poles since the institute began asking the question now believe that they have an influence on what is happening in their country.

54% now say they believe they have influence, compared to 26% under Law and Justice.

“The time has come for Poland to be happy,” Tusk said.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

Speaking as he presents his government, Donald Tusk said will probably meet Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Brussels soon.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

Lithuania’s president, Gitanas Nausėda, has congratulated Donald Tusk.

Congratulations, @donaldtusk, on becoming Prime Minister of Poland!
Looking forward to working together at #EUCO on a stronger, safer& more prosperous Europe and supporting Ukraine together.  
Wishing you the best of luck in leading Poland forward in these challenging times.

— Gitanas Nausėda (@GitanasNauseda) December 12, 2023

Over 265,000 people are watching Donald Tusk’s speech live on Youtube at the moment.

Tusk presents new government ministers

Donald Tusk is presenting his ministers.

  • Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, a member of Third Way, will be deputy prime minister and minister for defence.

Tusk said:

The Polish army will be well equipped, also thanks to our allies.

  • Krzysztof Gawkowski, a member of New Left, will be the second deputy prime minister and responsible for the ministry of digitalisation.

Tusk noted:

I don’t have to tell you how important modern technologies are also on the battlefield.

Tusk stressed:

We will look for ways consistent with the constitution to show that corruption or the destruction of Polish institutions will not go unpunished.

  • Marcin Kierwiński, a member of Tusk’s own Civic Platform, will be interior minister.

  • Radosław Sikorski, also from Civic Platform, will be foreign minister – a role he held previously in 2007-2014.

  • Andrzej Domański, from Civic Platform, will serve as finance minister.

  • Agnieszka Buczyńska, a member of Third Way, will hold the new post of minister of civil society affairs.

  • Borys Budka, from Civil Platform, will be minister of state assets.

  • Marzena Czarnecka, an academic, will be minister for industry – and the ministry will be moved from Warsaw to Silesia.

  • Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, from New Left, will be minister of family, work and social policy.

Tusk said:

We have developed a program so that every Polish woman feels a change in the treatment of motherhood, protection of mothers and access to legal abortion.

From the very first days, we will take concrete actions to ensure that women feel an immediate change in their rights. All women will experience the improvement of life.

  • Jan Grabiec, from Civic Platform, will be head of the prime minister’s chancellery.

  • Paulina Hennig-Kloska, from Third Way, will be the minister of climate and environment.

  • Krzysztof Hetman, from Third Way, will be minister of development and technology.

  • Dariusz Klimczak, also from Third Way, will minister of infrastructure.

  • Katarzyna Kotula, from New Left, will be minister of equality.

  • Izabela Leszczyna, from Civic Platform, will be minister of health.

  • Barbara Nowacka, from Civic Coalition, will be minister of education.

  • Sławomir Nitras, from Civic Platform, will be minister of sports.

  • Marzena Okła-Drewnowicz, from Civic Platform, will take the new position of minister of senior policy.

  • Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, from Third Way, will be minister for funds and regional Policy.

  • Czesław Siekierski, from Third Way, will be minister of agriculture.

  • Tomasz Siemoniak, from Civic Platform, will be coordinator of special services.

  • Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, also from Civic Platform, will be minister of culture and national heritage.

  • Adam Szłapka, from the Nowoczesna (Modern) party, will be the minister of European affairs.

  • Maciej Berek will be a minister without portfolio, coordinating the legislative process.

  • Dariusz Wieczorek, from New Left, will be minister of science and higher education.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

Polish politician Robert Biedroń is celebrating the European court of human rights decision today that the lack of any form of legal recognition and protection for same-sex couples in Poland breaches the European convention on human rights.

“We will replace discrimination and exclusion with equality. It’s time for equal rights!” he wrote.

To historyczna chwila dla osób LGBT! Europejski Trybunał Praw Człowieka nakazał Polsce uznanie praw par osób tej samej płci! 🏳️‍🌈 Dyskryminacje i wykluczenie zastąpimy równością. Czas na równe prawa!

— Robert Biedroń (@RobertBiedron) December 12, 2023

Presenting his policy programme, Donald Tusk addressed the rival Law and Justice party:

You shamelessly wasted the last two months, using them to financially protect your party colleagues. The list of what you did will be publicly available, we will take care of it.

We will have to spend a lot of time cleaning after you.

He added:

The essence of the state’s responsibility is to guard the border and take care of the interests of Polish entrepreneurs, and you (PiS) have neglected both of these things.

We have a ready action plan for the coming months, also to protect small Polish entrepreneurs.

Tusk said teachers’ salaries will be increased by 30%, while salaries in the public sector will rise by 20%.

We will provide help to people where it is needed, and at the same time we will ensure a reasonable budget policy so that our social policy does not threaten the financial stability of the state.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

We can protect border and be human, Tusk says

Tusk has also touched upon the sensitive issue of migration policy, calling for both protecting borders and taking a “human” approach.

We can respect other religions and cultures, but we must be aware of the consequences of an uncontrolled movement of people.

He added:

We can protect the Polish and European border and be human at the same time.

Poland, he said, “can really be the safest place in the world”.

The incoming prime minister added:

Poland will be safe and we will achieve this ideal of a safe state. Poland can be the safest place on Earth if it does not stand alone, if it cooperates with allies and guards its borders. And no one will trade visas any more.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

‘Only a united west can help Ukraine win’, Tusk tells MPs

Speaking in the Polish parliament, Donald Tusk also underscored the importance of continued Polish support for Ukraine.

We also need to speak with one voice about Ukraine. This must also unite us. The attack on Ukraine is an attack on all of us.

We will demand full mobilisation of the west to help Ukraine. I can no longer listen to politicians who talk about being tired of the situation in Ukraine. They tell President Zelenskiy that they are tired of the situation. I will demand help for Ukraine from day one.

He added, however, that Warsaw will continue defending the interests of Polish farmers, signalling that Warsaw’s spats with Kyiv are not at an end.

Poland’s help for Ukraine is crucial, but at the same time we must remain assertive when it comes to the interests of, among others, Polish farmers.

We will look after Polish interests working with every Polish neighbour.

But we must remember what the war is about. That Ukrainians are fighting for something extremely important.

The new Polish leader also emphasised that Ukrainians want “to be democratic and law-abiding like western countries. And they are fighting for it now.”

He added:

By some strange coincidence, politicians who attack the foundations of democracy are anti-Ukrainian.

Only a united west can help Ukraine win in the fight for democratic values.

And in a nod to his expected role as a player on the European stage, Tusk also referred to an upcoming debate at a summit of European leaders.

In a few dozen hours, I will be going to Brussels, hoping that we will convince our allies to defend democratic values and Ukraine against Russian aggression.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

Poland has ‘no reason’ for an ‘inferiority complex in the EU’, Tusk says

Donald Tusk has emphasised his intent to make Poland a major player in Europe.

Speaking in the Polish parliament, he said:

The alienated Poland is the Poland exposed to the greatest risks.

I am calling on you to help put Poland on solid foundations and to help our government do so.

He added:

I want to tell you that no one will beat me (in the game) in the EU.

Poland has no reason, Polish politicians have no reason, to feel any inferiority complex in the EU.

Poland will return to its place on the European, Tusk – a former president of the European Council – insisted.

This madness, this embarrassment of ourselves, could have cost us more than ridicule. But I can guarantee you that we will make Poland return to its rightful place.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

Donald Tusk presents his government’s programme and asks for a vote of confidence in parliament in Warsaw
Donald Tusk presents his government’s programme and asks for a vote of confidence in parliament in Warsaw on Tuesday. Photograph: Aleksandra Szmigiel/Reuters

Speaking in the Polish parliament, Donald Tusk underscored the need to work with people who have different views and underscored the importance of Poland’s alliances.

He said:

I remember the words that John Paul II once spoke in Sopot: there is no solidarity without love.

I want to show you the essence of the positive political phenomenon that we are building now, which is proof that coalition is possible, even though people may differ from each other.

Tusk added:

Poland is and will be a strong link in the Nato chain, a strong ally of the United States and will regain the position of leader of the European Union.

The new leader also stressed Poland’s place in Europe.

Poland will build the position it deserves. We are the stronger and more sovereign the stronger not only Poland, but also the EU.

He added:

The election results on 15 October are the expression of Poles’ desire for Poland to return to its rightful place in Europe.

Anyone who puts Poland at risk of being left alone with what is happening at our borders, is putting the existence of our homeland at great risk.

I ask everyone to stop pretending that our Nato and EU allies are the threat.

Guardian contributor Katarzyna Piasecka reported from Warsaw

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