The UK plans to attend the first meeting of the European political community
The UK plans to attend the first gathering of countries that could be part of the project for a “European political community” unveiled by French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this year.
Czech EU Affairs Minister Mikuláš Bek, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said Britain would be invited to this first meeting along with representatives from Israel and the Balkans. This first meeting will take place in Prague next month.
The Prague summit is due to take place on October 6, the last day of the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Birmingham, which will be the first opportunity for new British Prime Minister Liz Truss to present her government’s priorities.
Turkey, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan should also be invited to this summit.
The idea of a political forum that brings non-EU countries together but shares their commercial, political and rule of law values was floated by French President Emanuel Macron earlier this year. Ms Truss initially ruled out a UK involvement, although her predecessor, Boris Johnson, expressed some enthusiasm for it.
UK officials are asking for assurances that the forum will not be dominated by EU institutions and political leaders.
A trade deal with the United States will not be finalized for several years, Ms Truss admitted on Monday (September 19).
En route to New York, where she was due to hold bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden and EU leaders and attend the UN General Assembly, Ms Truss told reporters“There are currently no ongoing negotiations with the United States, nor do I expect them to begin in the short or medium term.”
A trade deal with the US has always been cited as an example of how the UK should reshape its trade relations after leaving the EU. The US is currently the UK’s fifth largest export market.
Fast-promoted after the June 2016 Brexit referendum, Ms Truss was tasked with brokering post-Brexit trade deals between the UK and third countries between 2019 and 2021. This includes dealings with New Zealand, Canada and Australia and all former British colonies.
However, momentum for a UK-US deal has waned since Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the presidential campaign in November 2020, prompting UK officials to concede it is no longer a priority in Washington as Mr Trump promised an ambitious trade pact had with London.
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