November 27, 2022

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Unique: More than 40 European leaders at the grand summit in Prague - but what will it bring?

Unique: More than 40 European leaders at the grand summit in Prague – but what will it bring?

What is the European Political Community?

A new modern club between European countries and their neighbours, which should ensure that European countries work more closely together in the world. About safety or about power supply. The idea was launched in March by French President Macron, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At first it seemed like a nice treat for a number of EU candidate countries that had been sitting in the waiting room for years. It also seemed like a sucker for Ukraine, who would like to become a candidate member, but now it has happened. Now it’s basically a huge diplomatic consultation, to make the conversation possible.

Why is this so important?

Europe searches for new friends, alliances in times of war. The 27 member states of the European Union would like to have better communication with their neighbours. Because of the war in Ukraine and the deterioration of relations with Russia, but also to balance China. Critics fear another modern club, without tangible results.

Who is all coming?

All 27 member states of Europe, plus another 17. Some are deliberately not members of the European Union (Switzerland and Norway) or have just left (the United Kingdom). There are countries that have been candidate members for many years (Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia) or have just joined (Moldova and Ukraine). Indeed, every neighbor of Europe is invited:

According to a senior diplomat, it is important that British Prime Minister Truss and Turkish President Erdogan attend. Britons have been arguing with Brussels over the aftermath of Brexit for months. Relations with Turkey are very bad. The arrival of Norway is also significant, because this country is becoming increasingly important for energy in Europe.

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There are also a few countries that differ with each other. There are often tensions between Greece and Turkey, between Azerbaijan and Armenia there is already a war. This can create tension, if the leaders of these countries are together in one room.

What do you think the Netherlands?

Prime Minister Rutte said he was “immediately excited”. He is in close contact with French President Macron and was willing to come up with the idea. He did so with the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama. Rota and Rama published a joint article this week. The two wrote: β€œThe EPG should be a place of business where we can meet and do business, whether we are members of the European Union or not.” Rota and Rama want to discuss energy, climate and trade. According to the two leaders, this is a “critical opportunity” to address “common challenges”.

What do you bring?

There will be no special Prague declaration or joint conclusion. “The meeting is the message,” one diplomat said: It’s about the meeting itself. At the same time, the European Union is busy searching for new allies. There are a lot of consultations with Norway, because this country is very important for the supply of gas. But the European Union also does business with less modern countries. For example, a large energy deal was signed with Azerbaijan. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, laughed widely in Baku, while the country was at war with neighboring Armenia. For example, the energy crisis and alienation from Russia are forcing new allies, as previously Brussels did not want to appear.

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How does this continue?

EPG is not now expected to become a variant of XL in the EU. We hope that the leaders of 44 countries will be able to meet more often. Perhaps within six months or next year, according to a senior diplomat. If more contacts are established between the EU and neighboring countries, this will be seen as a gain in times of war and uncertainty.