June 23. 2024. 7:17

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PiS MEP: Tusk’s silence over cancelled EPP Warsaw visit ‘interesting’

While you can speculate why the European People’s Party (EPP) delegation cancelled its visit to Warsaw last week, silence from the party’s former president, Donald Tusk, is particularly interesting, according to Witold Waszczykowski, an MEP from the ruling PiS party.

After the Belgian and German police raided EPP headquarters due to the corruption scandal from the 2019 elections, the Polish centre-right Civic Platform (PO, EPP) party allegedly asked the group’s leadership to cancel an EPP Group meeting in Warsaw following heavy criticism of pro-government media in Poland, which tried to link PO with the scandal ahead of the general elections later this year.

Two different EPP sources confirmed to EURACTIV that the Polish delegation of the EPP expressed severe concerns about the developments and the political damage to the centre-right family after the raid.

EURACTIV was informed that in the two-hour raid in the EPP, there were six police officers from Belgium and two from Germany.

The police checked computers and requested documents and data about an ongoing inquiry into alleged corruption during the 2019 EU election campaign.

“One can only speculate what was the reason for the cancellation of the visit,” ruling Law and Justice (PiS, ECR) MEP Witold Waszczykowski told EURACTIV.pl.

“It was allegedly PO that asked for the visit to be called off, so it must be that a visit would not serve PO’s image,” he said, pointing to the election campaign.

Some nationalist newspapers in Warsaw tried to link Tusk to the raid, but in the spotlight is Christian-Democrat (CDU) lawmaker Mario Voigt, the digital campaign manager for EPP leader Manfred Weber during the 2019 EU election campaign.

According to German media reports, the inquiries centre on awarding contracts for the digital campaign to a company in Thuringia, Germany. Voigt allegedly had ties with this company.

Tusk assumed his post as EPP president after he concluded his term as the European Council President in 2019. Yet, in 2021 he decided to quit European politics and returned to Poland to take the leader’s position in PO, which he co-founded in the early 2000s.

Tusk accuses the ruling PiS party of violating the rule of law in Poland and undermining relations with the EU and other international partners.

Government-controlled public media often tie Tusk to Germany’s former chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The raid has opened Pandora’s Box in the EPP. In the past, PO expressed concerns about EPP chief Manfred Weber’s efforts to build bridges with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who also chairs the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR, to which the ruling PiS belongs.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl)