Donald Tusk, the only Polish prime minister to win a second term since the collapse of communism in 1989, will become the next European council president.
A few years ago Poland held the EU presidency, but that is a ceremonial position with member countries rotating every six months.
The presidency of the European council has a great deal of influence and prestige. The charming pragmatist and politically astute Tusk will become the mediator among other European leaders. The agenda-setting and mediation powers that go with the job allow him to shape the EU's future direction.
Poland was the only EU country to show unfaltering GDP growth through the financial crisis, and the ensuing European debt and currency turmoil.
The elevation of Donald Tusk to such a high office in the EU marks Poland as a major player in the affairs of Europe.
Originally from Gdansk, the cradle of Poland's Solidarity Movement, he has been one of the EU's most successful and most pro-European prime ministers in recent years.
On the Ukraine - Russia issue, Tusk and Poland have led the hawks in Europe on getting tough with Putin, but it will be no easy task to get Germany, France and Italy to fall in line.
In related news -- Sources have told Polish Radio that Poland's deputy prime minister Elżbieta Bieńkowska is likely to become European commissioner for internal markets. According to sources, Bienkowska is highly valued in Brussels for her determined style as a minister and for her understanding of EU matters. Poland has been angling for a key post in the European Commission dealing with economic issues.
Labels: DonaldTusk, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU council, presidency