Poland wants centre-right MEP to replace Tusk as European Council head

In a March 5 tweet, he attacked Tusk, although stopped short of naming him, saying that "no government would allow itself to support [a] candidate who abuses [their] worldwide position to actively instigate opposition against democratic verdicts".

"Today, the EPP has revoked Jacek Saryusz-Wolski's title as EPP Vice-President" the group's chief Joseph Daul said in a statement.

Saryusz-Wolski is a Polish member of the European Parliament and until Saturday a member of the Civic Platform (PO), the biggest opposition party to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS).

Tusk is the second European Council president since the post was created following the Lisbon Treaty.

"I deeply regret Saryusz-Wolski's disloyalty and disrespect towards the unity and values of his own member parties, Civil Platform and the EPP", Daul said.

Euro MPs will vote whether to fully exclude him from the parliamentary party later this week, officials said.

On Saturday, it nominated Saryusz-Wolski, a PO lawmaker who sits in the European Parliament in Weber's EPP group.

"It is symptomatic that the Polish government once again pursues only a Polish domestic policy agenda and has completely abandoned any constructive ambition at European level. There is no other Polish candidate", Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said as he arrived for a meeting in Brussels.

"Donald Tusk. enjoys unanimous support from the entire EPP party family", Weber said in a statement.

Observers say Saryusz-Wolski, although well known among European Union leaders, stands no chance of getting the job, while the conflict risked bringing a representative of another country into the post.

However, the current Warsaw government run by Tusk's right-wing opponents, the Law and Justice party (PiS) headed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has insisted Tusk should not be reappointed.

Asked whose candidate Tusk would be after Warsaw backed a rival, Kaczynski said: "Angela Merkel's, he is the German candidate".

However the conversation actually went Monday morning, this much is clear: Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, who has mounted a seemingly quixotic challenge to European Council President Donald Tusk's bid for a second term, is no longer a member of the European People's Party (EPP).

Tusk, a centre-right Polish prime minister from 2007 to 2014, has been sharply at odds with Poland's rightwing government over a range of issues including changes to state media and the constitution. Kaczynski also holds Tusk "morally responsible" for the death of his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, in a plane crash in Russian Federation in 2010, when Tusk was Poland's prime minister.

  • Arturo Norris