There’s little love being exchanged between Polish elites this week as President-elect Andrzej Duda prepared for his swearing-in Thursday.
Rumor spread online Wednesday that former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, now president of European Council, would be attending the ceremony.
“President Tusk will not attend the inauguration ceremony tomorrow as he was not invited by President-elect Duda,” his communications team told POLITICO in an unusually strong email. Tusk’s official schedule is empty that day.
Tusk’s party Civic Platform was swept away by an insurgent Duda in the May presidential election. This elevated Duda from his position as a mid-ranking member of the European Parliament to a seat at the table of Europe’s “Big Six” leaders.
Duda’s Law and Justice party has a deep Euroskeptic vein and his victory was greeted with shock in Brussels.
A spokesperson for Duda, Marcin Kędryna, declined POLITICO’s request for comment regarding Tusk’s involvement in the ceremony.
Kędryna referred POLITICO to a Polish Press Agency article, which suggests Tusk was invited, but by the Chancellery of Polish Parliament — the Sejm — rather than Duda. It is claimed that the invitation was issued to Tusk as the former prime minister of Poland rather than president of the European Council.
Kędryna tweeted late Wednesday: “It’s surprising, close aide of high European authority has so limited knowledge of diplomatic protocol.”
Tusk’s absence is notable. Former Presidents Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski and several former prime ministers are expected to attend.
Duda said Wednesday in an interview with the Polish Press Agency that he will place a heavy stamp on Polish politics from Day One. Duda says he will immediately move to reengineer international talks on Ukraine to increase Poland’s role and will push for NATO troops in Poland when he hosts the NATO summit in Warsaw next July.
Duda also confirmed he will speak on Poland’s behalf at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York in September. Domestically he will push to lower the retirement age — bucking European trends — and increase the salary Poles can earn before paying income tax.
The swearing-in ceremony will be live streamed via the president’s You Tube channel.
Outgoing President Bronisław Komorowski delivered a farewell speech Wednesday in which he claimed credit for lifting Poland’s defense efforts and raising defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product.