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Poland says will block European Union summit statement after Tusk's re-election

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski

Key Eurocrat Donald Tusk has vowed to "make the European Union better" after he was confirmed for a second term as its Council president.

European Council President Donald Tusk arrives for a meeting as part of the EU summit on March 9, 2017 at the new "Europa" building in Brussels.

Only hours earlier, Tusk was supported by 27 out of 28 countries to head the European Council for a second term.

The president chairs summits of the 28-nation bloc's leaders.

Poland's ruling Law and Justice party last week barred the Polish government from backing Tusk's candidacy, after the party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski called Tusk a "German candidate".

Earlier Wednesday, a senior German official said Tusk had "overwhelming support" and was fully expected to be given another term in office.

Malta's prime minister, who will preside over the election of the next president of the European Union's Council, is indicating that he remains convinced the decision will be made Thursday.

Poland has vehemently opposed the re-election of its own Polish politician and has now informed the rest of the leaders it will not agree with conclusions of the European Council.

But instead, the two-day summit starting Thursday risks being consumed by splits along old east-west lines as the eurosceptic Polish government proposes a rival candidate, with support from Hungary.

"We knew this would happen", Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told reporters.

"The item is on the agenda, so I think that usually when an item is on the agenda one has to decide on that item", Muscat said.

Szydlo said Poland had "very clear arguments against him as president of the council".

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted "congratulations", and Mr Tusk sent a tweet saying: "Thank you for keeping fingers crossed and for heart-felt support".

Poland refused to approve some summit texts, raising unease at a time when the European Union is looking for unity as the crisis-prone bloc is faced with the painful departure of Britain.