Donald Tusk, the current president of the European Council, is the only candidate for president for the European People’s Party (EPP), which is holding its congress in the Croatian capital of Zagreb on Wednesday and Thursday.
The election of new officials will be the main item on the agenda after France’s Joseph Daul, who has been heading the party since 2013, decided to leave the position.
Donald Tusk, 62, is the co-founder of the Polish Civic Platform political party and was prime minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014 before assuming the presidency of the European Council.
There are, however, 12 candidates from as many countries for the ten vice president positions but only a single candidate for the position of treasurer, German Christian Schmidt, 62, of the Christian Social Union (CSU). Schmidt previously held two ministerial positions in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governments from 2013 to 2018 and has been a member of parliament since 1990.
The congress will be attended by some of Europe’s top politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Irish Prime Minister Leo Vardarkar, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, departing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his successor, Ursula von der Leyen.
Besides the election of the officials, other items on the congress agenda include digitalization, the Balkans expansion of the European Union and environmental issues.
The EPP is known as a center-right conservative party at the European level and made up primarily of Christian democratic parties. It has been the largest party in the European Parliament since 1999.
Title image: Departing European Council president Donald Tusk (source: AFP/Aris Oikonomou)