Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk will be the new president of the European People's Party, the EPP said on Monday ahead of its congress in Zagreb on Wednesday.
Tusk will replace France’s Joseph Daul, who led the EPP since the end of 2013.
Although he did not announce his candidacy, the party said on its website that democratic Poland’s longest-running prime minister is the only candidate for the post.
Tusk recently said he would not run for president of Poland, which paves the way for a new European role when his mandate in Brussels ends at the end of this month.
European centre-right parties are electing a new leadership after scoring a relative victory in the European elections in May and securing the post of new European Commission president.
With a new leadership, the EPP will start drawing up a new ecology platform and youth polices, encouraged by the rise of the Greens in Europe and global protests to save the Earth.
Also high on the agenda is EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, notably after France recently vetoed opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
The EPP is expected to propose and carry out more effective policies to combat climate change, to empower the younger generations, and to protect democracy and peace in Europe and the neighbourhood, Dahl and EPP Secretary General Antonio Lopez-Isturiz have said ahead of the Zagreb congress.
The EPP was founded in 1976 by bringing together Christian Democrat, conservative and other centre-right parties. With 182 seats, they are the largest group in the 751-seat European Parliament. Together with the Socialists, the Liberals and the Greens, they make up the majority pro-Europe alliance against populist, Eurosceptic and Europhobic parties.
HDZ has no candidate for leading EPP positions
Over 2,000 participants are expected in Zagreb from Tuesday to Thursday at the 26th EPP congress, the first to be held in Croatia, the youngest EU member state which is chairing the EU in the first half of 2020 and is preparing to enter the Schengen and euro areas.
A number of heads of state and government are coming, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest European officials from the EPP, Tusk, and the Commission’s outgoing and new presidents, Jean Paul Juncker and Ursula von der Leyen.
Aside from the EPP president, over 700 delegates will elect ten vice presidents, the secretary general and treasurer. The HDZ, the strongest party in Croatia’s ruling coalition, did not nominate anyone for those positions.
There is no need for that, the party is sufficiently represented in top positions in the EPP and European politics, says a senior source from the HDZ, which is marking its 30th anniversary this year.
The HDZ’s former foreign minister, Marija Pejcinovic Buric, became Council of Europe secretary-general in June, while HDZ MEP Dubravka Suica will be a new Commission vice president. Suica is also the vice president of the EPP group in the European Parliament and of EPP Women, while HDZ MEP Karlo Ressler is the vice president of the Youth of the EPP.
Most of the EPP congress will take place in the Arena sports centre.