Sabine Siebold, Jan Lopatka and Michel Rose
Prague (Reuters) – EU leaders and neighbours from the UK to Turkey The nations met on Thursday to discuss the security and energy emergencies that have plagued them all, a symbolic summit that highlighted Moscow’s isolation since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The meeting in Prague was the founding meeting of the European Political Community (EPC), the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, bringing together the Member States and other European countries on an equal basis.
Some countries are waiting to join the EU, while another country, the UK, is the only country to leave it.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark has engaged in a crucial parliamentary debate at home to reduce the number of leaders from what was originally envisaged 44 Reduce to44.
The meeting in the old compound of Prague Castle was a grand gesture of solidarity with a continent mired in multiple crises – from the security consequences of the war in Ukraine to the energy crunch and looming recession from COVID- 19 Hopes of a strong recovery from the pandemic recession are dashed.
“This meeting is a way of finding a new order for Russia,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, adding that Moscow may not always be left out , but currently Russia under President Vladimir Putin “does not have a seat.”
Ukrainian President Zelensky spoke at the conference via video link, urging leaders to bring the new political community together Transformed into a “European Community of Peace”.
“Let today be the starting point. Europe and the whole free world will start from this point to ensure peace for all of us. It is possible,” he said, calling on leaders in Ukraine to “command Europe All possible forces to end the war”.
A particular concern in Prague is British Prime Minister Liz Truss, who is facing pressure at home just weeks after taking office – taking the stage with EU leaders.
Her decision to attend the summit has some hoping to reset relations between Brussels and London, building on the warmer tones of recent weeks on the issue of trade arrangements for Northern Ireland after Brexit confrontation.
After meeting with Czech Prime Minister Peter Fiala, the host of the summit, Truss stressed the importance of their “strong unity with like-minded European democracies against Putin’s atrocities”.
An EU official said Tesla’s participation was positive.
“I think the impression of the UK’s involvement in these topics is very positive: security, stability, economy, immigration and supply and support to Ukraine,” the official said.
Russia’s war in Ukraine is sure to be the focus of the new club, as the budding EPC leaders are likely to meet their troubled neighbors next time in Ukraine’s tiny country of Moldova.
Still, it’s not clear that a forum already considered by some to be just another talk shop has a strong future.
Its sheer size will be a major obstacle to implementing specific policies, as will its political and cultural diversity and traditional rivalry among its many members, from Armenia and Azerbaijan to Greece and Turkey.
In a pre-summit blog, Borrell said there was still a need to clarify the EPC’s core rationale, the forum’s ultimate membership, its relationship with the EU, how it should make decisions, and even whether it should have a budget.
On Friday, leaders of the European Union 27 countries will meet individually in Prague. Tensions will play out in Germany’s 200 billion euro ($197.27 billion dollar) energy support plan, many Peers see the plan as disruptive competition to the EU’s single market.
EU countries will also grapple with how to cap gas prices to curb soaring energy costs, fueling inflation across the EU.