March 9, 2017 / 8:31 PM / 5 months ago

Tusk pledges to save Poland from EU "isolation"

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Donald Tusk, the former Polish premier re-elected as the chairman of EU summits on Thursday, pledged to work with the Warsaw government that tried to prevent him from securing a second term and ensure Poland was not left isolated in the EU.

"I want to cooperate with every member of the European Council and I will do everything I can to protect the Polish government against political isolation in Europe," Tusk told a news conference when asked whether he could broker talks in the leaders' summits after the bitter feud with his successor.

Asked how he would communicate with the right-wing government in Warsaw, the former centrist prime minister said simply: "I will communicate with the Polish government in Polish."

Reflecting widespread exasperation among other leaders at the Polish government's tactics in trying to block Tusk's reappointment, that remark prompted EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker to say from the podium: "Hopefully this is a language the Polish government will understand."

Tusk went on to urge his political opponents in Warsaw, whose emotions he said he understood, to adopt a responsible and reasonable attitude on the future of Europe.

"Be careful the bridges you burn, because once they are gone you can never cross them again," he said.

"I want to dedicate this saying for all member states ... but today especially to the Polish government."

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Noah Barkin

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