Tusk confirmed European Union president

The European Union leaders' decision on Thursday to reappoint Poland's Donald Tusk as President of the European Council raises questions over the bloc's unity, a spokeswoman for Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party said.

The German government official also said a summit of European Union leaders on Thursday should send a clear signal that the bloc is in favour of further free trade agreements.

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.

This gives rise to a very unsafe European union.

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Prime minister Beata Szydlo said it was a matter of principle not to elect a president of the European Council who did not enjoy the support of his home country.

Germany's Angela Merkel and other leaders say allowing willing states to pull closer together is crucial to the EU's survival, but wary easterners fear they could be left behind.

Tusk has been unexpectedly challenged by his country, Poland, where he is a bitter rival of the governing party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat chaired the session to decide Mr Tusk's mandate.

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Poland's nationalist government has proposed little-known Polish EU lawmaker Jacek Saryusz-Wolski to replace Tusk, whose current term ends May 31.

Under EU rules it would need a majority of at least 72 percent of the 28 leaders, representing at least 65 percent of the EU population, a European Council official told AFP.

So, too, is the role Poland will play in Brexit negotiations now that UK Prime Minister Theresa May threw her support behind Tusk. "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. That period coincides with the expected two-year Brexit talks on United Kingdom withdrawal from the EU. But Mr Tusk is still expected to get enough support to keep his post.

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