Donald Tusk resigned as President of the EU Council on December 1, using the time left to harshly criticize his colleague. In his speech to the European College in Bruges Tusk fought against the French President Emmanuel Macron and against the Brexit. He realized that a few months ago he could have been fired for, he said.
At Macron, Tusk was struck by his interview with The Economist, in which he spoke of NATO's "brain death" and called for Europeans to be more sovereign. He shares the dream of sovereign Europe, Tusk said. But: "There will be no sovereign Europe without a stable Balkan, which is integrated in Europe." Macron had last prevented Albania and North Macedonia from being declared EU candidate countries.
Macron's view of Russia also criticized Tusk. The French President had said that he shared the image of Russia by Viktor Orban and hoped that the Hungarian Prime Minister could convince Poland as well. "Maybe," Tusk said in his speech, "But not me, Emmanuel."
Great Britain "a second-rate player"
Great Britain predicted a drastic decline for Tusk after Brexit. "After this farewell, the United Kingdom will be an outsider, a second-rate player, while the main battlefield will be occupied by China, the US and the EU," Tusk said in a speech that was equivalent to his five-year term (read here entire speech). Everywhere he was asked why the British were doing this.
Andrew Parsons / DPA
Donald Tusk (l.) And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
With a view to the upcoming elections in the UK on 12 December, he appealed to the British: "Do not give up, we already had extra time in this match, now we're in extra time, maybe even penalties." Tusk recalled that he had done everything to extend the Brexit deadline to give time for thought and a possible U-turn in the UK.
"Only as part of a united Europe can the UK play a global role; only together can we face the greatest powers in the world without any complex," Tusk said. "And the world knows that."
Tusk came to office in 2014 and hands it over to former Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel on 1 December. How it goes for Tusk then is still unclear. Most recently, the 62-year-old had ruled to run for president in Poland next year.
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