BRUSSELS (AA) – Polish politician Donald Tusk replaced Herman Van Rompuy as President of the European Council Monday.
Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland, is the first Polish politician ever from a former Soviet state to take a top EU job.
”If you are nervous about this replacement…the change of boss…don’t worry, I am a little nervous too, maybe more than you,” Tusk said during a handover ceremony at the council in Brussels.
Tusk takes charge as Europe gets embroiled further in crises, including the fluid situation in Ukraine, fragile energy markets and slow recovering economies.
The main duty of the council chief is to create consensus between EU member states.
”For five years as Prime Minister, I witnessed your skills, creating compromises, finding solution, establishing trust,” Tusk said of his predecessor Van Rompuy, who has decided to leave politics altogether.
The 57-year-old Kashubian Slav, Tusk’s most important challenge will be the crisis in Ukraine, which will be discussed by NATO foreign ministers in Brussels Tuesday.
Tusk also said the 28-nation-bloc should be determined to end the economic crisis and secure its borders. He said the relationship between the EU and the U.S. is the backbone for both democracies.
Born in the Polish port city of Gdansk, Tusk is a historian who entered politics after communism was ousted in 1989, and served as prime minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014.
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