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Instagram diplomacy.
FOODSTAGRAM

Donald Tusk’s Instagram photos are the perfect way to interpret European politics

By Annalisa Merelli

Instagram influencers, watch out: You’re getting some stiff competition from European Council president Donald Tusk.

Since Tusk’s official Instagram account launched in early April, it’s exposed his more human side to the world—from black-and-white, sunnies-on snaps of his childhood self to triumphant shots of grown-up Tusk just after completing a 20-kilometer race. But most importantly, much like Instagrammer extraordinaire James Comey, Tusk’s photos provide subtle, funny commentary to the otherwise buttoned-up world of politics.

Consider, for example, Tusk’s photo from his meeting with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg. The two appear to be greeting one another warmly, with a bright tulip garden in the foreground of the image. The shot of his meeting with Donald Trump, on the other hand, merely pictures Tusk frowning in a close-up; Trump is only visible as a blurry head of blond hair.

Tusk’s latest posts take this commentary to the next level, with food as his symbols of choice. They came as he shared updates the Salzberg summit last week, in which European leaders met with UK prime minister Theresa May to negotiate the terms of Brexit.

In the aftermath of the meeting, May said the talks had reached an impasse. This outcome could have been predicted by anyone following Tusk on Instagram, as the temperature of the summit was clear enough from his unhappy ice-cream shot.

“Cooling down emotions before the #SalzburgSummit2018,” reads the caption of the portrait of a stern-looking Tusk as he walks with two scoops of ice-cream cone. There are no details about his flavor preferences; the top looks like a berry, but the bottom one is harder to decipher. Still, it’s clear enough that the ice cream is #bittersweet.

Shortly after, another food-centric shot suggested the summit was not working out so well for May. The image showed Tusk offering petit fours to a smiling May. The caption? “A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries.”

Indeed, the EU has it made it clear that it won’t be giving May whatever she wants, with a cherry on top.

Many more Instagram-equipped leaders are heading to important meetings during this week’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). One can only hope that they provide similarly entertaining food-based commentary on the state of the world’s relations.