The Czech capital will once again make history. On Thursday, Prague Castle will host the premiere of the first-ever meeting of a broader format of European countries, the so-called European Political Community (EPC).
The new platform, proposed in June by French President Emmanuel Macron, will bring together European leaders to discuss critical issues affecting the European continent. The energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, migration, and climate challenges—are the focus of today’s meeting.
Štěpán Černý, deputy for the management of the European Affairs Section at the Government Office, confirmed that many heads of state would not miss the meeting. Only Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will be absent. She called early parliamentary elections on Wednesday after her country was thrown into a political crisis by damaging Russian pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
In addition to the 27 EU members, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the UK, and Turkey have also sent their top representatives.
Question marks have long hovered over the presence of the newly minted British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, who was still speaking at the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Birmingham on Wednesday, and whose position has been clouded by indiscretions over tax cuts and the fall of the pound.
Optimists and skeptics
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal will represent Ukraine. “We are counting on President Zelensky to address the statesmen online,” the source confirmed.
Representatives of each country come with many interests—sometimes conflicting. Doubts have been raised as to whether the meeting outcome will be much more than a joint photograph.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan is currently facing criticism from European countries for letting migrants leave his territory in large numbers. Ankara is also in a years-long dispute with Greece and Cyprus, which has recently escalated into a sharp verbal spat between the leaders.
The tensest atmosphere will be between Armenia and Azerbaijan; more than 100 soldiers were killed in September renewed cross-border shootings between the two countries.
Although a joint statement is not expected at the end of the summit, even the obligatory “family photo” is an outlet-a message to the world that European countries, even outside the Union, are finally willing to act as one family externally, according to Politico. An informal EU summit will follow the meeting on Friday in Prague.