Ask most people what they think of European Union leaders and they’ll probably say something about greying bureaucrats. In the popular imagination, an action hero would be the polar opposite to those people.
And that’s probably why Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, has been cast in exactly that role in an experimental new effort to engage the public in its work.
Tusk is Poland’s answer to Jason Bourne in a new action movie style trailer for a series of high-profile summits, including one on Brexit, being held by the Council this autumn.
To a backdrop of dramatic music and interspersed with bold graphics, he’s seen striding purposefully, saluting his troops, delivering big speeches and mixing it with the world’s most powerful people.
Bring it on! pic.twitter.com/gBFkfvvo7H
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) September 6, 2018
But, unlike any other action movie trailer you’ve ever seen, it ends with the hero in a comfy-looking chair having an awkward chat with Theresa May.
It manages to be both pretty slick and, at the same time, not too serious.
It has received some online mockery but there’s also a sense that it has done its job in getting the European Council on the radar of more people than usual.
On Tusk’s Twitter account alone, the trailer has received more than 74,000 views at the time of publication.
It has been suggested that it was inspired by—or is even a satire of— the four-minute epic movie style trailer the White House produced as a scene setter for Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Although European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker met Arnold Schwarznegger this summer, his spokesman said “we don’t have time for that” when asked whether Juncker would be staring in his own action trailer any time soon.
Tusk is probably the only EU leader who can get away with playing the role.
He has spoken about how he was a “typical hooligan” as a teenager and would roam the streets of his native Gdansk getting into gang fights. Tusk later took part in “underground” groups opposed to communist rule in Poland, an experience which might lend itself to espionage work.
Now, he’s the EU’s most straight-talking politician and, as the trailer says, ready to “manage Brexit.”