As a sign of their opposition to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU states have established a new political community with almost all other European countries. The heads of state and government of the more than 40 participating partners met in the Czech capital Prague on Thursday for the first meeting in the new format. Among them was German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who described the so-called European Political Community as a “great innovation”.
The aim of the new grouping is to facilitate closer exchanges between EU countries and partners outside the EU. “We share a common environment, in many cases a common history, and we are called upon to write our future together,” said French President Emmanuel Macron in Prague, who proposed the creation of the community. He hoped that the new group would meet every six months and that joint projects could emerge from it.
At the first meeting in Prague, it was above all the energy crisis and the economic situation that were on the agenda, alongside Russia’s war against Ukraine. The meeting was also intended to send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he is almost completely isolated on the European continent. Apart from Putin, only Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko was not invited to the meeting of the new European Political Community (EPC). He is considered Putin’s close and only ally in Europe.
At first, it was still unclear how exactly cooperation between the more than 40 countries should be organised – whether for example it should also be able to make concrete decisions in the future, and if so, how? Chancellor Olaf Scholz made it clear that he was not necessarily interested in tangible results. The SPD politician said in Prague that it would be possible in the new format to talk “all day long about common concerns in different formats and to do so entirely free of any agenda or any need to take decisions”. This would be good for peace, good for the security order and good for economic development, he said, adding that it would also allow the EU to improve relations with its neighbours, many of whom wanted to become members of the EU.