Against the background of the war with Russia, the “European Political Community” was formed.

Against the background of the war with Russia, the “European Political Community” was formed.

Leaders from 44 European countries will gather in Prague on Thursday (October 6) for the inaugural European Political Community (EPC) Summit, a new model searching for meaning as multiple crises sweep the continent.

As the Czech EU Presidency welcomes leaders to Prague Castle, it is still unclear what this new organization, the result of an initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron, is and what it aims to achieve.

“The OSCE without Russia”

The six Western Balkan countries are joined by countries from the EU’s immediate neighborhood, namely Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Most of them are already members of organizations such as the EU, NATO, the Council of Europe, which works to uphold human rights and the rule of law, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), whose mandate includes arms control, freedom of the press and free and fair elections.

However, diplomats say the latter two organizations have been particularly ineffective in dealing with Russia, a member of them, and some have referred to the “European Political Community” as the “European Political Community”. “OSCE without Russia”.

A European diplomat said bringing together such a large number of leaders would appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin “a strong sign” Resistance to his war in Ukraine.

“We have seen messages from the EU, from NATO – now there will also be a message to Mr Putin from 44 leaders of the continent.”said the European diplomat.

“As we do not have an operational forum to deal effectively with issues related to Europe as a whole, we are giving this a chance.”he added.

What’s at stake?

The heads of state and government will first meet in Prague in the early afternoon for a plenary session before splitting into round tables on topics such as peace and security, energy and climate, the economy, migration and mobility.

France said it hopes to find ways to work together to protect critical European infrastructure such as gas pipelines, cybersecurity and energy supplies.

The leaders then have several hours to hold bilateral meetings before meeting for a final plenary session over dinner.

The European Council said there would be no joint declaration at the end of the meeting on whether leaders had reached consensus on the issues discussed or the future of the organisation.

Some observers fear that the meeting will only be one “Miracles Without a Future” and that it is difficult to create an appropriate decision-making structure.

EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell, who will also attend the summit, said that with a half-day gathering of so many leaders, it could only be one “first exchange”and that questions remained about the ultimate goal of the fellowship.

It remains to be clarified what the EPC will be for, its ultimate composition, its relationship with the EU, how it will make decisions and even whether it will have its own budget, Borrell said in a blog post.

EU officials said they expected leaders to agree to hold a follow-up community summit in six months to a year in a country outside the bloc of 27 – Britain and Moldova had offered to host it.

Leave or double in Prague for European Political Community

Innovative structure that makes it possible to federate Greater Europe against Russia in the long term, or a format that is undermined by divergent interests and sterile debates? The brand new “European Political Community” initiated by Emmanuel Macron will bring together 44 heads of state and government from the continent in Prague on Thursday.

The Risk of Bitterness

Alignment with Russia and Western sanctions could be the meeting’s sore point, although European diplomats said pressure on countries that remain on the fringes is unlikely to be applied.

Disagreements are expected on other issues as well, a diplomat said on the eve of the meeting“There will certainly be an open and direct exchange.”

One such issue could be the escalation of decades of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, fueling fears of a second war in Europe’s neighbourhood.

The leaders of the two countries are expected to hold side talks with Mr Macron and EU President Charles Michel.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is under scrutiny as EU members Greece and Cyprus could bring up longstanding differences with Ankara and tensions with Sweden and Finland over their bids to join NATO.

Countries aspiring to join the EU – Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and the six Western Balkan countries – should reiterate that EU countries should not see the community as a substitute for the EU’s enlargement process.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – who is currently leading a counter-offensive against Moscow forces – will attend the meeting via video link from Kyiv.

EU diplomats said Kyiv will be there with a large delegation led by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal to seek more support from non-EU countries.

It is also one of British Prime Minister Liz Truss’ first major trips since she took office.

Given Britain’s independence since Brexit, expect some tough talks from London over what the format should or shouldn’t be.

Several diplomats have reported that London wants to change the name from “Community” to “Forum” to diminish its meaning.

Elsewhere, she might face a touchy stance from her European peers about Britain’s efforts to renegotiate the post-Brexit trade deal with Northern Ireland.

An informal EU summit will then take place at Prague Castle on Friday.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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