Donald Tusk

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You are Donald Tusk, President of the Council of Europe

The Office of the President of the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is a gathering of the heads of state from all member nations. The Council meets to determine the policies and positions of the European Union. It is the duty of the Council President of the council to schedule, organize, facilitate, and arbitrate these meetings. Your duty is daunting--you are tasked with helping twenty-seven countries come to a common solution. This is not always possible. When it proves to be impossible then the EU is not allowed to undertake that specific issue. The Council President is also tasked with representing European interests abroad. In a way similar to the President of the Commission, you are charged with representing the EU at summits and other important gatherings of heads of state. Though this defines your role less than that of the President of the Commission, you are still a very important behind the scenes actor. The primary duty of the President of the European Council is to build consensus. Without consensus, the EU is powerless to act. Within the simulation there are only two other EU countries, Britain and France. Remember that while you are very interested in the policies of these two countries, and they will be a focus of your work, your post does have a scope broader than just EU countries. Consensus building stretches beyond just European countries. You want to make sure that all nations friendly to the EU help support its policies. If you are successful in this enterprise, it will make the job of the High Representative and the President of the Commission much easier.

Donald Tusk

You were born in Gdansk, Poland in 1957. You came of age as the Polish trade union “Solidarity” was formed in your hometown, and became a key location of growing discontent with Poland’s Soviet-controlled leadership. You were active in student politics during this era, and you worked as a journalist for pro- Solidarity newspapers, a fact that resulted in your being blacklisted by Poland’s Communist government. Your blacklisting resulted in the loss of your position, and for several years you worked as a manual laborer for a Polish labor cooperative. You were a founder of the Liberal Democratic Congress (LDC), and were first elected to the Polish Parliament on the LDC list in 1991. You were in and out of parliament for the next decade, and in 2001 you affiliated with the Civic Platform, a party that was generally conservative on social issues while, regarding the economy, advocating for active state guidance over the free market. The influence of your new part grew along with your influence within it, and the Civic Platform strongly supported Poland’s entry into the EU in 2004. Poland’s economy boomed, and it became a success story that the EU leadership liked to boast about. In 2007, you were elected Prime Minister, and as Poland’s economic growth continued, your star shone ever more brightly. During your tenure as Prime Minister, Poland helped the EU to keep key former Soviet states like the Ukraine in the EU orbit, and played a key part in shaping the EU’s hardline against Russian policies in the Ukraine and Crimea. This political stance helped you greatly in 2014 when you won the Council Presidency. Britain was not enthusiastic about your candidacy, as they and other “Euroskeptic” nations resisted your pro-EU federalist orientation, but your anti-Russian stance and your generally conservative leanings comforted them enough that they did not actively oppose you. Like EU President Jean-Claude Juncker, you are an experienced politician who, according to a BBC article (“New EU leader Donald Tusk makes tough unity pledge” (BBC News Europe, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30275263, retrieved 12-28-14) “is a tough political operator, unlike some predecessors at the helm of the EU who were more grey and technocratic.” Along with a strong stance against the Russians, you’re also clearly in favor of strengthening the EU’s relationship with the United States.

You as President of the Council

Though Mogherini and Juncker are more internationally visible, you are perhaps the most active of the three. You revel in behind the scenes negotiations that make public proclamations come together so seamlessly. While Mogherini is in negotiations with Israel about allowing an aid flotilla to reach Gaza, and Juncker is drumming up public support, you will be working behind the scenes encouraging key allies to lend their support, reminding them of how important human rights are, and emphasizing how the EU smiles upon those who forward this agenda. While others, like Juncker, make use of the public stage to lobby for support, you approach key countries behind the scenes and attempt to hammer out key details and compromises. While the CFSP may become an important aspect of your job, short of a crisis it should not. Your favored means of interaction will most likely be the communiqué. That said, you know well that communiqués can only accomplish so much. The three EU representatives must work together and come to a beneficial division of labor. Remember that you are known as a consensus builder. Looking for the common ground and the best way to approach the problem is something that is central to your role, and your identity. Within the European Union you are one of the central players. You are tasked with organizing the meetings of the European Council. This is a group of heads of state that meets to agree on the Council's official positions. Here your job takes the form of arbiter. You strive to find the common ground between the nations so that a common policy can be arrived at. In terms of foreign policy, you are one of the key players behind devising the CFSP. It is also your responsibility in this simulation to propose any necessary changes to that policy. Should a crisis arise which requires a response from the EU, it is your duty to present this to the Council of Europe. This means being capable of clearly articulating why the former CFSP was insufficient and arguing for why the new CFSP fills that particular gap. Your actual role in foreign affairs is vague beyond the establishment of the CFSP, but over time a role for the Council President has been established. Primarily the President of the European Council is viewed as a strategist, helping to see how to work with the existing CFSP. He is also viewed as a behind the scenes man. Dealing with heads of state through private communiqués more so than public statements, and seeking to lay the groundwork for foreign support of EU policies. Your powers overlap with both the President of the European Commission and the High Representative. You are expected to present Europe on the international stage, and are one of the three people allowed to represent the EU at the U.N. This said, in order to avoid stomped toes, the Council President has worked diligently on the behind the scenes affairs of the EU. This requires close cooperation with your teammates in order to ensure that you are similarly interpreting the CFSP, and that each knows and understands what the other is doing. If Benjamin Netanyahu receives three communiqués asking the same question, his view of the EU will be that of a disorganized group of individual actors rather than an organized group seeking to achieve a common goal. You must guard against such an eventuality.

References

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21635506-donald-tusks-appointment-caps-polands-journey-europes-core-polands-progress?zid=309&ah=80dcf288b8561b012f603b9fd9577f0e

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30275263

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity_(Polish_trade_union)

http://www.european-council.europa.eu/home-page/highlights/inauguration-of-donald-tusk,-new-president-of-the-european-council?lang=en

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/26/david-cameron-support-donald-tusk-european-council-president

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