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European Council President Herman Van Rompuy holds the hands of Donald Tusk and Federica Mogherini. Yves Logghe/AP/Press Association Images
message to moscow

Meet the new bosses: Poland's Tusk and Italy's Mogherini chosen for EU top jobs

The nomination of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to take over as Council President will send a strong message to Moscow, amid the continuing Ukraine crisis.

EUROPEAN UNION LEADERS have nominated Italy’s top diplomat to become the 28-nation bloc’s new foreign policy chief for the next five years.

EU summit chairman Herman Van Rompuy said this evening in a Twitter message that leaders had chosen Federica Mogherini to succeed incumbent Catherine Ashton in November.

The decision comes as the crisis at the EU’s eastern border pitting Ukraine against Russia poses one of the biggest foreign policy challenges for the union in decades.

Mogherini, a 41-year-old center-left politician, has been Italy’s foreign minister only since February, drawing criticism that she lacks experience.

The EU leaders also elected Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to succeed European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in December as EU summit chairman and behind-the-scenes broker of compromises among national leaders.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU’s most influential leader, has been a strong backer of Tusk — a pro-European free marketeer with roots in Poland’s Solidarity anti-Soviet trade union.

The Polish premier, who speaks neither English or French, overcame a personal clash with Britain’s David Cameron over migration policy to become favourite for the job.

With leaders unnerved by Russia’s latest actions in Ukraine, the nomination of Tusk will send a firm message to Moscow.

In a statement welcoming the appointment, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he had “worked closely with Donald over the past few years” and was “delighted at his election as President of the European Council”.

“The role of President is extremely important, particularly during these difficult times, and I have no doubt that Donald’s dedication, expertise and professionalism will serve us well.

“I look forward to working closely with Donald in driving forward the agenda of growth, jobs and investment.”

He also said Mogherini would bring a range of skills to her job “and will help the Union to navigate through the many complex foreign and security issues facing us”.

Reporting from AFP & AP.

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