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Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

In the spotlight

Visit to Ukraine, 28-29 September 2016

On an invitation from the Ukrainian government President Donald Tusk participated on 29 September in the commemorative ceremony of the 75th anniversary of Babi Yar assassination outside Kiev. It was one of the largest single massacres in the history of the Holocaust. Only in September 1941, German forces and its local collaborators killed there over 33 000 Jewish people. Thousands of other victims were murdered at this place until 1943.  

"When we stand in silence at this mass grave, we need to remember that it is our daily duty to cry out at the top of our voice, and to act - always - when innocent people are killed, when the strong attack the weak, when children become the target of warplanes and rockets," said President Tusk.

On Wednesday 28 September Donald Tusk met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and on Thursday 29 September Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.  

Leaders discussed:   

  • EU- Ukraine relations, including the topic of visa liberalisation 
  • implementation of the Minsk agreements
  • the agenda of reforms and anti-corruption measures in Ukraine

UN General Assembly, New York, 18-22 September 2016

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, spoke on behalf of the EU at the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 21 September. His speech to the assembly focused on:

  • the European response to the refugee crisis and the need for global solidarity
  • building a global strategy and network against terrorism
  • the EU's active engagement to bring peace in areas where war is raging or is imminent, including Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan
  • the EU's full commitment to the fight against climate change

"Europe will always stand for a free and open world governed by the rule of law, where nations can trade and grow together," he said.

On 20 September, President Tusk attended the leaders' summit on the global refugee crisis, hosted by US President Barack Obama. This event aimed to reach new global commitments to increase humanitarian funding, admit more refugees through legal pathways and increase refugees' self-reliance and inclusion.

On 19 September Tusk participated in the UN high level meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. "Global migration will accompany us in the future," he said, "and it is in our power to decide whether our future in this context will be orderly, stable and safe; or disorderly, unstable and unsafe." 

In the margins of the UNGA, he also met with a number of other leaders bilaterally.

As of  1 December 2014, Donald Tusk heads the European Council - the institution that sets the EU's political direction and priorities. He is responsible for preparing and chairing meetings of the institution. He also ensures the external representation of the EU's common foreign and security policy at his level.