Polish PM Tusk blames likely 'misunderstanding' for Meloni's criticism of EU top jobs deal

European Union leaders' summit in Brussels

WARSAW (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's criticism of plans to share out the top jobs in EU institutions could be the result of a "misunderstanding", her Polish counterpart Donald Tusk said on Thursday in an attempt to calm tensions over the issue.

Sources said on Tuesday that the three main, broadly centrist European groups - which do not include Meloni's conservatives - had struck a deal on the bloc's top posts, which would include a second term for Germany's Ursula von der Leyen as head of the European Union's executive.

The news drew an angry response from Meloni, who said that such a deal ignored the successes of right-wing parties in this month's European Parliament elections, which made the conservatives the third-largest group in the new EU assembly.

"There is some emotion, but in fact it may be more of a misunderstanding," Tusk told reporters at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels when asked about Meloni's criticism.

Noting Italy's role as one of EU's key members, Tusk said his and Meloni's views on security, migration and defence were "essentially identical" and cast the talks earlier this week as just an effort to get things going.

"People have to meet to make this process of appointing new top European officials move forward ... and that is why the largest parties, including me as one of the negotiators, met to make this process easier, not to make anyone's life more difficult."

(Reporting by Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)