New EPP leader Tusk pledges to fight populism

The outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk, who was elected on Wednesday president of the European People’s Party, said that the center-right group “will not sacrifice values like civic liberties, the rule of law and the decency of public life on the altar of security and order.” Tusk (62), the only candidate for the position, becomes the first EPP president from central and eastern Europe. He succeeds Joseph Daul after 2 mandates as EPP president.

Speaking at the party conference in Zagreb Tusk pledged to fight populism. Observers noted that now he would need to quell turmoil over whether to allow Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz, which is currently suspended from the group, back into its ranks. Fidesz was suspended in March over concerns about PM Viktor Orban’s record on respect for the rule of law, freedom of the press and rights for minorities. The party was not invited to the two-day EPP gathering in Zagreb.

EPP delegates from 40 countries also adopted at their meeting a resolution urging the new European Commission to press ahead with the accession process for the Western Balkan states.

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