Who is Donald Tusk, the most powerful man in Europe for 2024
After eight years of rule by the nationalist Law and Justice Party, Poland is on the cusp of a new era - the reverberations of which would be felt across the continent.
Tusk, who chaired it, is a former Polish prime minister and president of the European Council.
His performance in October's general election, in which he led a group of opposition parties to victory, shows that even in a flawed system, it is possible to defeat entrenched populists.
For this reason, it serves as a ray of hope for centrists across Europe and beyond, who acknowledge with dismay how populist forces have moved from the fringes into positions of power.
(Remember: Giorgia Meloni in Italy, Robert Fico in Slovakia, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Donald Trump across the Atlantic.)
That is why he has topped the annual POLITIC0 28 list of the most influential people in Europe for the coming year.
If Tusk manages to form a coalition government and make his grand return as prime minister, he has vowed to make Poland the heart of EU decision-making.